Founded and directed by translator Cécile Menon, Les Fugitives was inspired and informed by a number of benevolent authors, book-lovers and editors; a kind of free-forming collective not necessarily aware of itself. Core contributors include publisher and author Charles Boyle, translator Sophie Lewis, editor Angeline Rothermundt, and still life photographer Dominic Lee. Artists include Keith Ashley, illustrators Laura Carlin and Anaïs Mims, and graphic designer Thomas Swann. Nicolette Praça for press relations and publicity, has proved invaluable, and Dominic Jaeckle, co-founder of Partisan Hotel, Jessie Spivey and Ellen Dunsdon are the first of a long line of other young helpers and enablers keen to learn and support, including Laure Birckel, Jennifer Obidike, Daisy Bartlett, Sydney Diac, and Leyla Yilmaz.
‘In the short time of its existence, Les Fugitives has established itself as a curious new voice in the collective world of independent publishing. A collective of translators and editors founded and directed by Cécile Menon…’ Tank Magazine, June 2018
'Les Fugitives (...) publishes only short books that have been written by award-winning, female, francophone writers who have previously not been translated into English. If that sounds incredibly niche, it isn’t. (And if you do think it’s niche, think of the long French literary tradition of imposing rules on fiction, like the Perec-centred Oulipo movement.) Think of how many books are published, think of how many literary awards are given, think of how many writers are women and think of how many places in the world people speak French. With these rules, they obviously have a limited pool of books to choose from, but still a large one. (...)if Blue Self-Portrait is anything to go by, then Les Fugitives is clearly doing the English world of letters a great service, because this is a belter.'
- Scott Manley Hadley, Triumph of the Now, June 2017
‘Criminal Aesthetics’, an interview with Les Fugitives, on Suite for Barbara Loden and Eve out of Her Ruins.
- HOTEL, issue 1, 22 June 2016
‘Earlier this year, with little fanfare, a mysterious new publishing collective of editors, translators and designers called Les Fugitives published an extraordinary novel.’
- Bidisha, BBC Arts, 21 October 2015
'Nothing is as consubstantial with literature and its modest mystery as the questions raised by a translation.' J.L. Borges
'Toute poésie est traduction. Toute traduction est supérieure à son original.' Antoine Berman, L’épreuve de l’étranger
All books published by Les Fugitives have all been critically acclaimed in France yet eluded the attention of more established publishers in the UK, ‘fallen between the cracks’ as it were.
In the belief that short works make for an ideal introduction to an author’s oeuvre we focus on short books. Our flexible approach gives translators and editors optimal conditions in which to perfect their work.
We favour storytelling that follows in the steps of the modernists’ efforts and their successors, and writing that sits comfortably between genres: non-linear narratives, sometimes better described as textes (in French). This said, the modernists did not invent ‘mongrel books‘, and neither did we.
Cinema has long infiltrated the world of literature and, partly inspired by our first title, we endeavour to build a collection that has either a distinct cinematic feel in the writing itself, if not a direct link with film history. Other arts come into play in our books, including photography, painting and music.
Travelling, wandering, deserting, running away… Les Fugitives are about stories of people who don’t fit in; stories raising old and new questions about gender and identity; stories about strangers, about almost-love, and about solidarity: from the late nineteenth century, 'the divine countess' of Castiglione, to Barbara Loden's Wanda, to the women of today.