Ambassador Lenain announces Romain Rolland Book Prize winners

H.E. Mr Emmanuel Lenain, Ambassador of France to India, announces India as the guest of honour at the Paris Book Fair 2020 and the winners of the Romain Rolland Book Prize for literary translation.

Jaipur, 23 January 2020

The Ambassador of France to India, H.E. Mr Emmanuel Lenain, today announced that, as part of a reciprocal invitation, India is the guest of honour this year at Livre Paris (Paris Book Fair), while France will be the guest of honour at the New Delhi World Book Fair in January 2022. India was the Guest Country in Paris in 2002 and 2007 as well.

Leading and emerging Indian authors will be invited to Paris to meet readers, while publishing industry professionals will enhance cooperation between France and India in this area during networking events.

Commending the invitation, Ambassador Emmanuel Lenain said, ‘Having India as the Guest of Honour at Livre Paris will boost translations and the publication of Indian books by French publishers, as well as the dynamic network of the French and Indian publishing industries.”

In a special ceremony at Jaipur Book Mark, the Ambassador also conferred the 2020 Romain Rolland Book Prize along with Leila Slimani, novelist and President Emmanuel Macron’s Envoy for Francophone Affairs. Awarded annually to the best translation of a French title into any Indian language (including English), the prize went this year to the first three albums of the Astérix series, Asterix and the Golden Sickle, Asterix and the Goths, and Asterix the Gladiator, translated into Hindi by Dipa Chaudhuri and Puneet Gupta, and published by Om Books.

Lauding the winners, Ambassador Emmanuel Lenain said, “Conveying humour and wordplays from a different language and culture is no mean feat. The translators have done an outstanding job of contextualising these – including the characters’ names – while staying true to their original meaning. It is amazing to have such glimpses from French heritage and history available to Hindi readers.’

In its third year, the Romain Rolland Book Prize received seven entries, including fiction and a comic series, of which four were shortlisted by the Franco-Indian jury.

Livre Paris (Paris Book Fair)

Livre Paris will take place from 20th to 23rd March 2020. It brings together booklovers of all hues, being open to the larger public, with talks and book signing sessions, as well as a major meeting place for writers and publishing industry professionals. Around 50 countries are represented in this truly international event. Last year, over 160 000 people, including 3900 authors and 34000 professionals, attended the fair.

Indian presence at the Livre Paris:

  • Around 30 Indian authors representing various linguistic regions of India are expected
  • About 15 Indian publishers will participate on the professional days (18th 19th March) organised by the BIEF (International Bureau of French Publishers)
  • Around 20 new Indian titles will be translated into French for the occasion and 15 books will be reprinted

Mr Jean-Claude Perrier, literary advisor on India to the SNE (French Publishers’ Association and organisers of Livre Paris), is also planning to include debates on:

  • The India of tomorrow : economy / development / ecology/climate
  • Writing / Re-writing India’s history
  • Indian Cities, inhabitable megacities? Special issue of French literary review “Critique”
  • Tagore: a national monument (on the occasion a Quarto/Gallimard publication of his works)
  • Translation and adaptation of the Mahabharata (particularly for theatre/opera and comic books)
  • The Great Indian Novel in the presence of the author and / or the translator(s).

Livre Paris will also have a food and literature stand, an initiative of Ms Priti Paul, Director - Apeejay Surrendra Group, and sponsor of the Romain Rolland Book Prize as well as other literary and cultural events.

A Celebration of India in France
Livre Paris will be accompanied by lectures and cultural side-programmes in libraries, bookshops and cultural landmarks of Paris and other cities in France that will put India in the limelight even after the Fair. It will also feature:

  • The festival of travel writing ‘Etonnants Voyageurs’, in the last weekend of May 2020, with at several Indian guest authors.
  • ARSMONDO INDE: the festival organised by Opéra du Rhin in Strasbourg inviting Indian authors from India and the UK.

The Indian Pavilion at Livre Paris is being set up by SNE-REED (the French Publishers Association (SNE) and its logistics partner (REED)) in partnership with the National Book Trust (NBT). The Indian Pavilion will be designed by the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad.

The pavilion is being curated by Jean-Claude Perrier, literary adviser for India to the SNE, in coordination with the Attaché for Books at the French Institute in India, Christine Cornet.

The Romain Rolland Book Prize

The Romain Rolland Book Prize aims at awarding the best translation of a French title into any Indian language, including English. The Indo-French jury takes into account the quality of the translation and the publication itself. The prize aims at encouraging and rewarding the efforts made by Indian publishers to bring the best of Francophone literature and thought, in all its diversity, to the Indian readership.

Launched during the 2018 Zee Jaipur Literature Festival as an annual event, the Prize is supported by Priti Paul through the Apeejay Trust. The award consists of an invitation to the next year’s Livre Paris in March for the publisher of the work and an invitation for the translator to attend a month-long residency in France.

This year, the long list included, other than English titles, 1 Malayalam, 1 Tamil, 2 Hindi, and 1 Bengali title. The short listed works were:

  • The first three albums of the Astérix series translated in Hindi by Dipa Chaudhuri & Puneet Gupta (Publisher: OM Books)
  • Chanson Douce , translated in Bengali by Trinanjan Chakraborty (Publisher: Patra Bharati)
  • Corps desirable, translated in Tamil by S.A. Vengada Soupraya Nayagar (Publisher: Kalachuvadu Publications)
  • Malentendu à Moscou, translated in Malayalam by Prabha R Chattergy (Publisher: Green Books)

This year’s winner

  • The translators: Dipa Chaudhuri, translator & Chief Editor at Om Books International, and Puneet Gupta, translator, author and advertising professional
  • The publisher: Om Books International (OBI), a 60-year-old company, is one of the largest English-language trade publishers in the Indian subcontinent and has been a leading force in the Indian publishing and retail industry for several years. With 1600 titles in print, and several more in the pipeline, Om Books International has co-editions of its titles in over 28 languages.
  • The jury: For the third edition of the Romain Rolland Book Prize, the distinguished jury was composed of Annie Montaut, Michèle Albaret-Maatsch, Renuka George, Nalini Tampi, Sindhuja Veeraraghavan and Chinmoy Guha.

Previous winners

  • 2019 - Andrei Makine’s La vie d’un homme inconnu (The Life of an Unknown Man) translated into Tamil by S.R. Kichenamourty (Indian publisher: Kalachuvadu)
  • 2018 - Patrick Modiano’s Rue des boutiques obscures translated into Hindi by Monica Singh as Main Gumshuda (Indian publisher: Rajpal and Sons)

The Romain Rolland Prize and the PAP (Publication Assistance Programme) Tagore are initiatives of the French Institute in India in support of translations of French books in India. The Institute also runs a special programme for training translators.

Last modified on 12/02/2020

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