Now, Now, Louison will be published in the USA by New Directions in March 2019. This is a first collaboration between Les Fugitives and the much-admired American independent literary press. Two more books for publication in 2019, in partnership with New Directions, are underway and will be announced later this year. Meanwhile the editors of Harper's BAZAAR USA have also fallen in love with Now, Now, Louison and will publish a 2000 words excerpt in their August issue 2018.
Join us at Tate Modern on 3rd October, to hear Michèle Roberts in conversation with Jean Frémon and translator Cole Swensen, discuss the art of the portrait in literature, the art of translation and, of course, the life and work of artist Louise Bourgeois.
More information and tickets can be found on the Tate Modern website.
On 4 October, Les Fugitives will be at Heong Gallery in Cambridge to hold an event for Now, Now Louison for the last days of the collective exhibition DO I HAVE TO DRAW YOU A PICTURE, featuring drawings by Louise Bourgeois among others. Details of this event shall be confirmed in the newsletter later this month.
English PEN named Mireille Gansel #WITMonth author for 23 August 2018.
Translated by Ros Schwartz, English PEN notes 'Translation as Transhumance is a humanist meditation on the art of translation'.
Read English PEN's presentation of the book here.
Read more reviews of Translation as Transhumance here.
Read more about Women In Translation month here.
The Film Stage has announced that Wanda, Barbara Loden's American independent 1970 landmark is to return to theatres thanks to production company Janus Films. 'Thanks to the likes of champions Isabelle Huppert and John Waters – as well as Nathalie Léger’s recent book – the film has received a resurgence as of late, and now Janus Films will release it in theaters this summer, followed by a likely release on The Criterion Collection.' Suite for Barbara Loden by Nathalie Léger, was published in the UK by Les Fugitives in March 2015 and by American indie press Dorothy Project in 2016.
Eimear McBride and Daniel Hahn in conversation with Noémi Lefebvre - London
Michael Cronin, Ros Schwartz and Mireille Gansel - Dublin
On Wednesday 16th we are pleased to be joining Sarah Cleave of Comma Press; writer and publisher John Mitchinson; and the TLS’s commissioning editor Thea Lenarduzzi, at BookMachine London, to discuss the present-day boom in independent publishing, and its future prospects.
On Thursday 17th Noémi Lefebvre will be in conversation with Eimear McBride, as well as French and Canadian authors Pierre Senges and Hélène Frédérick. Sophie Lewis, translator of Lefebvre’s virtuosic Blue Self-Portrait, will be chairing the talk in part of a packed program at the Institut français’ second ever Beyond Words festival.
'We had Noémi over from France for less than 24 hours for a launch at Peckham's Review bookshop. She was funny and knotty too, and I could have done with more of her. Then Transit Books brought out their US edition and even more people seem to have been enjoying this short dense firework around the world.
Noémi is erudite, wicked, cynical, super-smart, especially on Franco-German relationships and modern music, as well as writing. I hope I can keep up.' Sophie writes.
If you're convinced but can't make the 17th there will be the chance to hear Noémi Lefebvre at Brick Lane's Caravanserail bookshop on Saturday 19th, where she will be talking to Daniel Hahn, award-winning translator, founder of the TA First Translation Prize. There will be a reading with interpretation from Sophie Lewis.
On Wednesday 23rd, Mireille Gansel, her translator Roz Schwartz and author Michael Cronin will be discussing Gansel’s English PEN Award winning essay-memoir Translation as Transhumance at Trinity College Dublin. A conversation on the art and act of translation, this event is part of the stellar line-up of this year’s International Literature Festival.
On 13th June, Mireille Gansel will be in London for Language Acts and Worldmaking, taking part to a roundtable with Ros Schwartz, their fellow award-winning French translator Sarah Ardizzone, and French author and director Faïza Guène.
Please join us at one or all.
'Sometimes a writer (and translator) get “voice” so perfectly a character emerges into real life. This is one of the most fluidly charming, intellectually committed, funny pieces of fiction in years.' Neil Griffiths, author and founder of the Republic of Consciousness Prize for Small Presses.
Author Mireille Gansel and translator Ros Schwartz, in conversation with Amanda Hopkinson, co-founder of English PEN’s Writers in Translation programme
Join us here for a short, celebratory conversation and reading of excerpts of TRANSLATION AS TRANSHUMANCE in French and in English, followed by drinks and mingling.
Winner of an English PEN Award, the book presents a compassionate meditation on the art of translation that also serves as a moving account of wartime danger, hospitality, and human kinship.
Presenter Sara Cox & Eimear McBride, author of A Girl Is a Half-formed Thing, talk about books they love with Harriett Gilbert. Eimear recommends Suite for Barbara Loden by Nathalie Léger, in which a French researcher tries to write a biography of the film actress Barbara Loden. She's now nearly forgotten despite being the first woman to write, direct and star in her own feature film, Wanda, which won the International Critics Award at the 1970 Venice Film Festival.
The fiction finalist of the CLMP (Community of Literary Magazines and Presses, USA) Firecracker Awards is Eve out of Her Ruins. The award was accepted on 6th June 2017 by translator Jeffrey Zuckerman.
On Thursday 15th June 2017 Les Fugitives will be celebrating the publication of Noémi Lefebvre's debut novel BLUE SELF-PORTRAIT at the Review bookshop, London, where the author will be talking about her work with critic Jonathan Gibbs (@Tiny_Camels).
A smart, angst-ridden and comical exploration of 20th-century false notes, misprisions and earworms, this will be our third title. The event and publication are generously supported by the Institut français du Royaume-Uni.
We are thrilled to announce that Ananda Devi is coming to the @InstitutFrancaisLondon on May 13th 2017 for the brand new series of literary and art events Beyond Words Festival! Book your tickets at www.beyondwordsfest.co.uk.
In a talk chaired by translator and editor Sophie Lewis, Ananda Devi will speak about her novel Eve out of Her Ruins (Les Fugitives/CB editions), in conversation with fellow author Emmanuelle Pagano (Trysting, tr. by Sophie Lewis & Jennifer Higgins). Tango will with the common thread theme of their conversation, assorted with readings of excerpts in French and in English.
Why tango? The question of the interaction between men and women is very much present in both Devi and Pagano's books. It is often problematic, sometimes to the point of violence, which is in keeping with the spirit of tango. In Pagano's work the idea of a choregraphy between the bodies of the lovers is fundamental: it can be seen through the way that look at each other or even through small gestures of affection, which become highly symbolical. In Devi's work, the atmosphere is one of physical attraction and of fascination, notably the fascination a strong young woman can generate in her male counterparts, who can never fully possess her.
On Sunday afternoon 14th May, Ananda Devi will take part to 'French Passions', a collective event featuring Emmanuelle Pagano, best-selling author Mathias Malzieu and debut novel Goncourt winner Alexis Jenni, as part of the Beyond Words Festival, at Dulwich Books, London.
Eve out of Her Ruins by Ananda Devi was shortlisted for the 2017 fiction shortlists of the BTBA and the newly created readers' award Albertine Prize. See The Offing and Lithub for exclusive web excerpts.
Our first title, Suite for Barbara Loden by Nathalie Léger (2015) won the 2016 Scott Moncrieff Prize for Translation. It was shortlisted for the fiction shortlist of the French-American Foundation 2017 Translation Prize and longlisted for the 2017 Albertine Prize. It was chosen by Eimear McBride as one of her two Books of the Year in the Guardian’s Best Books of 2015. See exclusive web excerpts on 3:AM and The Paris Review.
On 18th June 2016, Isabelle Huppert introduced a rare and exclusive screening of Wanda (the inspiration behind Nathalie Léger’s docu-novel) at the Whitechapel Gallery in London.
Translators' words, written in the wake of the US election
The US election has put a new responsibility on us as translators and publishers to stand up to misogyny and bigotry and misinformation.
"It is in times like this when we most need stories that open windows into other spaces and other lives. It would not be unreasonable to read Eve Out of Her Ruins as an allegory of these various populist movements. There's the same seductive resistance to authority, that same adolescent insistence on destructive, romantic rebellion. But then comes the more difficult question: how does Eve go forward into a better life after escaping and bringing down the various forces that held her back and hurt her? How does any country move forward after saying 'no' and casting aside the framework that had, however imperfectly, kept it on a steady course? It is one thing to want change, but it is another to see change through to a new reality.
It's only one of many possible readings that could be applied to Eve--the fact is that I had never thought about the book and the story in such terms until this election came around."
— Jeffrey Zuckerman, translator of Eve out of Her Ruins
Peirene Press editor Meike Ziervogel was right to be delighted by the TLS’s praise for the novellas she publishes: “two-hour books to be devoured in a single sitting: literary cinema for those fatigued by film.” An even more catchy expression came from the less highly regarded but more popular Metro: “highbrow escapism for the time-poor”. Of course, she is right to embrace such praise. You don’t bite the hand that feeds you, unless you’re a peculiarly reckless (suicidal) kind of small independent literary publisher. But let’s think about it for a moment. Film has long infiltrated literary creation but how can one blithely put on a par the experience of viewing a film and of reading a book?
The first question concerns the role of the critic. “All a critic has to do,” Dr Johnson tells us, “is to be as intelligent as possible”. This isn’t always true. The kind of literary criticism that offers snappy soundbites that sound like advertising copy offers an interesting case in point when you think that, essentially, (good) advertising is about how smart you are at selling a lie. (This is a simplistic view of course as the excellent little book TheMedium Is the Message: And 50 other Ridiculous Advertising Rules [BIS Publishers, Amsterdam, 2009]) wittily points out).
Let’s think about reading for a minute. Does it matter how long the book you read is – aside from its physical weight in your pocket or bag, if you still read on paper (and assuming you’re not reading in preparation for an exam, being the kind of student that thrives under pressure and leaves things to the very last minute)? How does the interpretative and imaginative work required by the reader, whichever kind of fiction you read, regardless of its literary merits and its length, compare with what happens in the viewer’s mind whilst watching a film? When, by definition, the images exist in front of the viewer’s eye(s), as opposed to being produced in the camera obscura of the mind’s single and singular eye whilst reading a book?
Take The Blue Flower by Penelope Fitzgerald, a masterpiece of contemporary fiction. It’s a short novel, written in extremely succinct prose, about which reviewers have written abundantly and beautifully. Maybe like me, you read slowly. Or maybe, also like me, when a book is so very good (The Leopard comes to mind) you won’t rush through it, even when you really want to know what happens next or, if nothing much happens but the style is enthralling, you want to devour (but rather, savour) each sentence, perhaps even re-reading the same sentence or paragraph several times.
I wasn’t particularly pressed for time when I read The Blue Flower; by this I mean I wasn’t snowed under, struggling to keep up with a zillion things or preoccupied with some prickly problem. I wasn’t idle either, just going about the daily business of life and work. But it took me three weeks. And I couldn’t read anything else (any other new piece of fiction, that is) for at least two weeks after that. I was still in or with the book after reading the book. Or, more precisely, the book was still in or with me, doing what some books do when you’ve finished them: they leave traces, even as they slowly fade away. This is a banal experience that most readers will identify with. Films, perhaps because we spend less time absorbed in them, have generally a lighter impact, or not as long-lasting, I think. When you finish a book you really love, the experience can be akin to how you feel when you separate from a lover. You can’t (and why should you?) just move on.
In any case, surely the point of reading a book is the experience of reading, not how long it takes. But in the case of a publisher like Peirene Press in the UK, and the equally wonderful Editions Cent Pages in France, surely the first thing to be said regarding their particular chosen perspective, is that while the books they publish are intrinsically entertaining because of their brevity and strong, almost concentrated identity, their chosen short form provides a unique vista into a writer’smore substantial body of work. These publishers seek to reach out to and cultivate the reader’s openness of mind as much as to inscribe each book in a particular temporality, the way a collection does: in other words, it’s not about novelty publishing or publishing a great writer’s latest work.
The previous paragraph does nothing that the snappy wording of the TLS and Metro does but I’m not in the advertising business, nor is a publishing house an actual product. This may sound hopelessly romantic and out of touch with the commercial imperatives dominating contemporary Western culture, but independent publishers like Peirene and many others are primarily human adventures attesting of a deep personal commitment to the books they deliver to the world. As to whether books are products or not, the answer probably depends on which side your bread is buttered but Laura J. Miller’s study on bookselling Reluctant Capitalists (2007) offers an interesting vantage point. Now, to “highbrow escapism”…