In 2006, the Cultural Services of the French Embassy, in partnership with the PEN American Center, launched the French Voices program. The objective was to create what would become, over an initial period of three years, a collection of 30 books representing the best of contemporary French and Francophone literature and thought. Fourteen years later, the collection has largely surpassed its objective and is now more than 150 titles strong. It includes a wide range of works representing some of the best of French-language fiction and non-fiction alike. Thanks to support from the Florence Gould Foundation and the Mellon Foundation, the program became, in 2013, the French Voices Awards.
The French Voices Awards recognize the quality of both the original work and the translation. A committee of independent professional experts (academics, translators, and publishers) selects works that epitomize the many facets of a vibrant French literary scene. Awards go to books representing new trends in fiction and graphic novels and bold and important points of view in non-fiction. The committee also announces two Grand Prize Winners (in fiction and non-fiction) at a prestigious ceremony held every year in the Spring. The $6000 awards are shared between the publisher and the translator while the Grand prize winners receive $10,000.
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.
Cultural Services of the French Embassy