Translation Prize Winners

The French-American Foundation and the Florence Gould Foundation announced the winners of their 27th Annual Translation Prize for superior English translations of French works published in 2013. 

All finalists were recognized at the Annual Awards Ceremony on May 22, 2013 where the winning translator in each category were announced and received their $10,000 cash prize, funded by the Florence Gould Foundation.

Winner in Fiction:

Adriana Hunter for her translation of Eléctrico W by Hervé Le Tellier (Other Press)

Adriana Hunter “stumbled across” the first book she was to translate, Geneviève Jurgensen’s La Disparition (The Disappearance), in 1998 and has since translated nearly 60 books, mostly of literary fiction. She won the 2011 Scott-Moncrieff Prize for her translation of Véronique Olmi’s Bord de Mer (Beside the Sea), and has been short-listed three times for the French-American Foundation and Florence Gould Foundation Translation Prize, and twice for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize. She lives in Norfolk, England.

By the celebrated Oulipo writer, Eléctrico W is a brilliant and witty novel set in Lisbon explores love, relationships, and the strange balance between literature and life. Journalist, writer, and translator Vincent Balmer moves to Lisbon to escape from a failing affair. During his first assignment there, he teams up with Antonio—a photographer who has just returned to the city after a ten-year absence—to report for a French newspaper on an infamous serial killer’s trial.

Eléctrico W recounts their nine days together and the adventures that proliferate to form a constellation of successive ephemeral connections and relationships.

Other 2013 finalists in fiction included: 

  • Edward Gauvin for his translation of The Conductor and Other Tales by Jean Ferry, Wakefield Press
  • Mike Mitchell for his translation of Where Tigers Are at Home by Jean-Marie Blas de Roblès, Other Press
  • Jordan Stump for his translation of All My Friends by Marie NDiaye, Two Lines Press
  • Chris Turner for his translation of No Fixed Abode by Marc Augé, Seagull Books

Winners in Nonfiction:

Alison Dundy and Nicholas Elliott for their translation of The Falling Sky by Davi Kopenawa and Bruce Albert (Harvard University Press)

Alison Dundy is an archivist, reference librarian, and birdwatcher. She translates from French and Italian into English and teaches French literary translation at New York University. She likes to read and translate books that defy categories, such as Sony Labou Tansi’s Life and a Half (shortlisted for the French-American Foundation translation award in 2012) and François Bon’s Daewoo (translated with Emmanuelle Ertel, awarded a French Voices grant in 2010). 

Nicholas Elliott is a writer and translator living in Woodside, Queens and raised in Luxembourg. He has been a New York correspondent for French film magazine Cahiers du Cinéma since 2009 and is a Contributing Editor for Film for BOMB

The Falling Sky is a remarkable first-person account of the life story and cosmo-ecological thought of Davi Kopenawa, shaman and spokesman for the Yanomami of the Brazilian Amazon. Representing a people whose very existence is in jeopardy, Davi Kopenawa paints an unforgettable picture of Yanomami culture, past and present, in the heart of the rainforest—a world where ancient indigenous knowledge and shamanic traditions cope with the global geopolitics of an insatiable natural resources extraction industry. Bruce Albert, a close friend since the 1970s, superbly captures Kopenawa’s intense, poetic voice. 

Other 2013 finalists in nonfiction included:

  • Malcolm B. DeBevoise for his translation of The Mark of the Sacred by Jean-Pierre Dupuy, Stanford University Press
  • Michael Holland for his translations of Into Disaster: Chronicles of Intellectual Life, 1941 and Desperate Clarity: Chronicles of Intellectual Life, 1942 by Maurice Blanchot, Fordham University Press
  • Janet Lloyd for her translation of Beyond Nature and Culture by Philippe Descola, The University of Chicago Press
  • Thomas Scott-Railton for his translation of The Allure of the Archives by Arlette Farge, Yale University Press