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Zee JLF 2019: French Ambassador presents Romain Rolland prize for best translation

The translator SR Kichenamourty is the former Head of the French Department of Pondicherry University. He was awarded the Chevalier and Officier des Arts et des Lettres by the French Government. He has translated many books from French into Tamil.

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Zee JLF 2019: French Ambassador presents Romain Rolland prize for best translation
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On Friday, His Excellency Mr Alexandre Ziegler, the French Ambassador to India announced the winners of the Romain Rolland Prize. The award is for the best translations of French fiction and essays into Indian languages. The prize was awarded to SR Kichenamourty for his translation of La vie d’un homme inconnu (The Life of an Unknown Man) by Andrei Makine, published in France by Editions du Seuil, in India by Kalachuvadu. 

Mr Alexandre Ziegler revealed that India will be the chief guest at the prestigious Paris Book Fair in 2020. France on the other hand will be main focus of the Delhi Book Fair in 2022.

Questions about the Rafale deal were brushed aside courteously, the Ambassador stating that he was here to talk about books not politics.

The winner was picked by a collection of jurors and the Ambassador expressed his happiness that French works were being translated into languages other than Hindi saying the jurors received entries in various other languages including Malayalam, Tamil and Bengali.

The awards shortlisted along with winners were:

1. La vie d’un homme inconnu (The Life of an Unknown Man) by Andrei Makine, published in France by Editions du Seuil, in India by Kalachuvadu, translated into Tamil by S.R. Kichenamourty.

2. Révolution dans la révolution (Revolution in the Revolution), by Régis Debray, published in France by François Maspéro, in India by Green Books India, translated into Malayalam by Prabha R Chatterji.

3. La peste (The Plague), by Albert Camus, published in France by Gallimard, in India by DC Books, translated into Malayalam by Geetanjali.

Out of the three short-listed works, the Franco-Indian jury selected S.R. Kichenamourty’s Tamil translation of La vie d’un homme inconnu (The Life of an Unknown Man) by Andrei Makine, published in France by Le Seuil and in India by Kalachuvadu, as the winning title.

Welcoming the translation, Ambassador Alexandre Ziegler said: “I warmly congratulate S.R. Kichenamourty and the publishing house Kalachuvadu on winning the Romain Rolland Book Prize this year. For the second edition of the Prize, we had many excellent translations, particularly from the South, as the short list testifies, with the selection of two books in Malayalam and one in Tamil. This is a cause for celebration, as the people-to-people and intellectual exchanges between our two countries is not restricted to one city or one language. Moreover, India will be the Guest of Honour at the 2020 Paris Book Fair, which is a great opportunity to expand the number of translations and publications of Indian books by French publishers and build a dynamic network between the French and Indian publishing industries.”

The translator SR Kichenamourty is the former Head of the French Department of Pondicherry University. He was awarded the Chevalier and Officier des Arts et des Lettres by the French Government.  He has translated many books from French into Tamil.

The jury comprised of Namita Gokhale, Annie Montaut, Michèle Albaret-Maatsch, Renuka George, Chinmoy Guha, and Narayani Harigovindan.

Dr Bertrand de Hartingh, Counsellor for Education, Science and Culture, French Embassy in India, revealed the names of the shortlisted titles at Oxford Bookstore Connaught Place on 6th January 2019.

Established by the French Institute in India, the prize is supported by Priti Paul via the Apeejay Trust.

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