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Translation Prize Winners
The French-American Foundation and the Florence Gould Foundation announced the winners of their 26th Annual Translation Prize for superior English translations of French works published in 2012.
All finalists were recognized at the Annual Awards Ceremony on June 5, 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:
Alyson Waters for her translation of Prehistoric Times by Eric Chevillard (Archipelago Books)
Alyson Waters is a translator of modern and contemporary literary fiction, criticism, and theory, as well as art history. Her book translations include works by Vassilis Alexakis, Louis Aragon, Daniel Arasse, René Belletto, Reda Bensmaia, Emmanuel Bove, Eric Chevillard, Albert Cossery, Yasmina Khadra, and Tzvetan Todorov. Waters has received a National Endowment for the Arts Translation Fellowship, a PEN Translation Fund Grant, and residency grants from the Centre national du livre, the Villa Gillet in Lyon, France, and the Banff International Literary Translation Centre in Canada. She teaches literary translation workshops at Yale University, New York University, and Columbia University. In addition to her work as a translator and teacher, she has been the editor of Yale French Studies for almost 20 years.
The characters in Prehistoric Times remind us of the inhabitants of Samuel Beckett's world: dreamers who in their savage and deductive folly try to modify reality. In an entirely original voice—full of burlesque variations, accelerations, and ruptures—Eric Chevillard asks luminous and playful questions about who we really are.
Other 2013 finalists in fiction included:
- No one, Gwenaëlle Aubry, translated by Trista Selous (Tin House Books)
- We Monks and Soldiers, Lutz Bassmann, translated by Jordan Stump (University of Nebraska Press)
- HHhH, Laurent Binet, translated by Sam Taylor (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
- With the Animals, Noëlle Revaz, translated by Donald Wilson (Dalkey Archive Press)
Winner in Nonfiction:
Nora Scott for her translation of The Metamorphoses of Kinship by Maurice Godelier (Verso Books)
Nora Scott holds a Ph.D. in Romance Languages from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and worked in social-sciences publishing at the Maison des Sciences de l’Homme in Paris for a time before moving to the Loire Valley, where she now lives. She began her translating career with a book of medieval French fabliaux but soon strayed into anthropology and the history of traditional art, where she has worked for a number of years. Maurice Godelier’s Metamorphoses of Kinship is her 23rd book-length translation.
In The Metamorphoses of Kinship, the world-renowned anthropologist Maurice Godelier contextualizes the recent developments of the structures of kinship, surveying the accumulated experience of humanity with regard to such phenomena as the organization of lines of descent, sexuality, and sexual prohibitions. In parallel, Godelier studies the evolution of Western conjugal and familial traditions from their roots in the 19th century to the present.
Other 2013 finalists in nonfiction included:
- In Defense of the Terror: Liberty or Death in the French Revolution, Sophie Wahnich, translated by David Fernbach (Verso Books)
- The Color of Power: Racial Coalitions and Political Power in Oakland, Frédérick Douzet, translated by George Holoch (University of Virginia Press)
- Manhunts: A Philosophical History, Gregoire Chamayou, translated by Steven Rendall (Princeton University Press)
- The Patagonian Hare, Claude Lanzmann, translated by Frank Wynne (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)