In 2006, the Cultural Services of the French Embassy, in partnership with the PEN American Center, launched the French Voices Grant. The objective was to create what would become a collection of 30 books over an initial period of three years. Ten years later, the collection has largely surpassed its objective and is now more than 100 titles strong. It includes a wide range of works representing some of the best of French fiction and non-fiction alike. Continuing on its path, thanks to support from the Florence Gould Foundation and the Mellon Foundation, the program became, in 2013, the French Voices Awards. The awards are now given twice a year and the French Voices Committee announces a Grand Prize Winner at a prestigious ceremony.
The French Voices Awards recognize both the original work and the quality of the translation. The amount of the award ($6000) is shared between the publisher and the translator ($4,000 and $2,000 respectively) and the Grand prize winner receives $10,000 in total ($6,000 to cover the preface and the publishing costs and a $4,000 non-negotiable bonus to be allocated to the translator; $7,000 and $3,000 in case of a comic book or picture book, respectively). The French author of the translated book is also awarded the opportunity to do a book tour in the US. A committee of independent professional experts selects works epitomizing the many facets of a vibrant French literary scene. Awards go to books representing new trends in fiction, or graphic novels and underrepresented perspectives or points of view in non-fiction.
The French works published in the US each carry a logo and receive the patronage of a major American writer in the form of a foreword, and he/she may participate in major public events with the author and translators. Past forewords for the French Voices award have been written by a host of eminent writers: Percival Everett, Siri Hustvedt, Luc Sante, Rick Moody, Elie Wiesel, Francine Prose, Jonathan Lethem, Edmund White, among many other illustrious authors, have all introduced a French Voices work to the US.
French Voices Award applications must be submitted electronically and are accepted twice a year. Please note that we also encourage the submission of translated eBooks.