The 2021 Albertine Prize Shortlist: Five French Works in Translation

In News by Porter Anderson

The forthcoming winner of the five-title shortlist for this year’s Albertine Prize has been voted on by the French bookshop’s membership.

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

Winners’ Announcement: December 8
As Publishing Perspectives readers will recall, the 2020 Albertine Prize went to Zahia Rahmani’s Muslim (Deep Vellum, February 2019) in Matt Reeck’s translation.

This year’s shortlist of five works again features works translated into English from French and recently published in the United States.

When the winner is announced on December 8, the choice will have been made by the American readers, although this year that voting jury was comprised only of members of Albertine. The goal of that more tightly defined group, the company says, was to “offer a personalized experience and a community of literary dialogue for francophone readers nationwide.”

Albertine, of course, is the bookshop presented in New York City as part of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy, and membership in its programming includes an invitation to the prize nomination event (which was held this year in October) and to the award ceremony in December.

Members also receive a permanent discount on all Albertine books and the opportunity to participate in Albertine Book Club sessions.

The winning author and translator of this year’s prize will share the award purse of US$10,000, a sum made possible by the embassy and sponsor Van Cleef & Arpels. Both translator and author are expected to be present at the awards event on December 8.

The Albertine membership concluded its voting period on this year’s shortlisted titles on November 15. The winner is to be named by Rachel Kushner, editor-at-large of the New York Review of Books, and Daniel Mendelsohn, who directs the Robert B. Silvers Foundation.

This year it’s interesting to note that two of the shortlisted translations are by Marjolijn de Jager.

All but one of the English-language publications credit the translator on the cover of the book. They Say Sarah by Pauline Delabroy-Allard is translated by Adriana Hunter, but Other Press does not seem to credit Hunter on the cover.

The 2021 Albertine Prize Shortlist

Author Translator Title Translation Publisher French Publisher
Nicolas Mathieu William Rodarmor And Their Children After Them Other Press, 2020 Actes Sud, 2018
Emmanuelle Bayamack-Tâm Ruth Diver Arcadia Seven Stories Press, 2021 POL, 2018
Emmanuel Dongala Marjolijn de Jager The Bridgewater Sonata: Sonata Mulattica Schaffner Press, 2021 Actes Sud, 2017
Louis-Philippe Dalembert Marjolijn de Jager The Mediterranean Wall Schaffner Press, 2021 Sabine Wespieser, 2019
Pauline Delabroy-Allard Adriana Hunter They Say Sarah Other Press, 2020 Éditions de Minuit, 2018

For those interested, information on membership in the Albertine program is here.

More from Publishing Perspectives on Albertine and its programming is here. More from us on the French market is here, and more from us on translation is here

More on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing is here

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson is a non-resident fellow of Trends Research & Advisory, and he has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.