Ambassador of France to India announces India, guest of honour at the Paris book fair 2020 and the winners of the Romain Rolland Book Prize for literary translation at Jaipur Literature Festival, 23 January 2020

Jaipur: The Ambassador of France to India, H.E. Mr Emmanuel Lenain, today announced that, as part of a reciprocal invitation, India is the guest of honour this year at Livre Paris (Paris Book Fair), while France will be the guest of honour at the New Delhi World Book Fair, January (2022). India was the Guest Country in Paris in 2002 and 2007 as well.

Leading and emerging Indian authors will be invited to Paris to meet readers, while publishing industry professional will consolidate the cooperation between France and India in this area during networking events.

H.E. Mr Emmanuel Lenain, said ‘having India as a guest of Honour at Livre Paris is a great opportunity to bring our minds closer and understand each other better. The fair will give a boost to the translations and publications of Indian books by French publishers and to the dynamic network between the French and Indian publishing industries.”

Announcing the winner of the Romain Rolland Book Prize, awarding every year the best translation of a French title into any Indian language, including English, H.E. Mr Emmanuel Lenain said, ‘Three years into the existence of the Romain Rolland Book Prize, we have seen some talented translators and publishers awarded for their works. This year, we received 7 titles including fiction and a comic series. I am glad to announce that out of the four short-listed works, the Franco-Indian jury selected this year: the first three albums of the Astérix series: Asterix and the Golden Sickle, Asterix and the Goths and Asterix the Gladiator, translated into Hindi by Dipa Chaudhuri and Puneet Gupta and published by Om Books. I understand that the translation of Asterix was not easy, the names of the characters being products of word play with references to French terms. The translators have indeed done an exceptional work of contextualising some of these names while staying true to its original meaning. It is amazing to see such a part of French heritage, a glimpse into the history of the country from where the language originates, now being available to Hindi readers.’

The announcement was made in presence of Jean-Claude Perrier, advisor on India to the SNE (Syndicat National de l’Edition Française, organisers of the Paris book fair), Vera MichalskiHoffman, Publisher and President of the BIEF (International Bureau of French Publishers).

H.E. Emmanuel Lenain, along with Leila Slimani, novelist and French President Emmanuel Macron’s personal emissary for Francophone Affairs, conferred the prize on the translator and publisher in a special ceremony at Jaipur Book Mark.


Livre Paris

The Paris Book Fair will take place from 20-23 March. It is both a popular fair, open to the larger public, with talks and book signing sessions, as well as a major meeting place for book and writing professionals. A truly international event, around 50 countries are represented. Last year, over 160 000 people visited the fair. 3900 authors and 34000 professionals were present.

Indian presence at the fair:

Around 30 Indian authors representing all linguistic regions of India are expected
About 15 Indian publishers will participate in the 2 professional days on 18th and 19th March organised by the BIEF (International Bureau of French Publishers)
Around 20 new Indian titles will be translated into French for the occasion and 15 books will get into reprint
Jean-Claude Perrier, literary advisor on the French side, is also planning to include debates on:

The India of tomorrow : economy / development / ecology/climate
Writing / Re-writing India’s history
Indian Cities, inhabitable megacities? Special issue of French Revue Critique
Tagore : a national monument (on the occasion of the publication of a Quarto/Gallimard of his works) • Translation and adaptation of the Mahabharata (particularly to theatre/opera and comic books)
The great Indian novel in the presence of the authors and / or their translators.
The fair will have a gastronomy and literature stand, on the initiative of Ms Priti Paul, Apeejay Group, sponsor of the Romain Rolland Prize and other literary and cultural events.

An Indian Moment

Livre Paris will be a special ‘Indian moment’ in France, with cultural and lecture side-programmes in libraries, bookshops and cultural landmarks in Paris and other cities in France. This Indian moment will go on after the Fair and will feature, among others:

The festival of travel writing ‘Etonnants Voyageurs’, on the last weekend of May 2020, with at least half a dozen Indian guest authors
ARSMONDO INDE: the festival organise by Opéra du Rhin in Strasbourg will invite Indian authors invited from India and the UK
Organisation The National Book Trust (NBT) is the partner on the Indian side, and the SNE-REED (the French Publishers Association (SNE) along with its logistic partner REED) is the organiser on the French side. The Indian Pavilion will be designed by the NID (National Institute of Design), Ahmedabad.

The curator is Jean-Claude Perrier, literary adviser for India, in coordination with the attaché for books at the French Institute in India, Christine Cornet.

The Romain Rolland Book Prize The Romain Rolland Book Prize aims at awarding the best translation of a French title into any Indian language, including English. The Indo-French jury takes into account the quality of the translation and the publication itself. The prize aims at encouraging and rewarding the efforts made by Indian publishers to bring the best of Francophone literature and thought, in all its diversity, to the Indian readership.

Launched during the 2018 Zee Jaipur Literature Festival as an annual event, the Prize is supported by Priti Paul through the Apeejay Trust. The award consists of an invitation to the Paris Book Fair

2019 in March for the publisher of the work and an invitation for the translator to attend a onemonth residency in France.

This year, the long list included, other than English titles, 1 Malayalam, 1 Tamil, 2 Hindi, and 1 Bengali title. The short list selected:  The first three albums of the Astérix series translated in Hindi by Dipa Chaudhuri & Puneet Gupta and published by OM Books  Chanson Douce , translated in Bengali by Trinanjan Chakraborty and published by Patra Bharati  Corps desirable, translated in Tamil by S.A. Vengada Soupraya Nayagar and published by Kalachuvadu Publications  Malentendu à Moscou, translated in Malayalam by Prabha R Chattergy and published by Green Books

This year’s winner

The translators: Dipa Chaudhuri, translator & Chief Editor at Om Books International & Puneet Gupta, translator, author and advertising professional The publisher: Om Books International (OBI), a 60-year-old company, is one of the largest Englishlanguage trade publishers in the Indian subcontinent and has been a leading force in the Indian publishing and retail industry for several years. With 1600 titles in print, and several more in the pipeline, Om Books International has co-editions of its titles in over 28 languages.

The jury: For the third edition of the Romain Rolland Book Prize, the distinguished jury was composed of Annie Montaut, Michèle Albaret-Maatsch, Renuka Georges, Nalini Tampi, Sindhuja Veeraragavan and Chinmoy Guha.

Previous editions

For its first edition, the award winning title was Main Gumshuda by Patrick Modiano (the publisher was Pranav Johri, from Rajpal and Sons, the translation of Rue des boutiques obscures into Hindi was by Monica Singh. In 2019, the Prize went to La vie d’un homme inconnu, (The Life of an Unknown Man) by Andrei Makine, published in India by Kalachuvadu and translated into Tamil by S.R. Kichenamourty.

The Romain Rolland Prize is one of the actions of the French Institute in India in support of translations of French books in India. Another action includes the PAP (Publication Assistance Programme) Tagore. The French Institute in India also runs a special programme of training for translators.