Romain Rolland Book Prize 2022 for translation

Applications open for Romain Rolland Book Prize 2023

Romain Rolland
(L-R) Esha Chatterjee, publisher Patra Bharati and Trinanjan Chakraborty, translator ­ Meursault, contre­enquête with the Romain Rolland Book Prize. Photo: IPP

The 5th edition of the Romain Rolland Book Prize 2022 was awarded to the Bengali translation of the Algerian novel in French, Meursault, contre-enquête (loosely translated as The Meursault Investigation) by Kaman Daoud. At New Delhi’s Bikaner House on 7 May 2022, translator Trinanjan Chakraborty and publisher Patra Bharati received the Prize at the French LitFest 2022 held as part of the Bonjour India Festival marking 75 years of India’s independence and Indo-French ties. Meursault, contre-enquête by the debut Algerian novelist is a retelling of Albert Camus’ masterpiece The Stranger

Publisher Esha Chatterjee said, “It is a great honor to receive the Romain Rolland Prize for translation of a very important book Mersault, contre-enquere by Kamel Daoud. This is the first time Patra Bharati has received this award and it wouldn’t have been possible without Trinanjan Da (Chakraborty), the translator for this book. We hope that together we can bring some of the most outstanding contemporary and classics of French literature to the Bengali readership.”

The Romain Rolland Book Prize was established in 2017 with the primary aim of recognizing the best translation of a French title of the francophone area into any Indian language, including English. The Indo-French jury takes into consideration the quality of the translation and of the publication itself before releasing the shortlist for the prize. The award was set up to encourage the efforts of Indian publishers to bring the best Francophone literature to Indian readers. 

Tamil and Hindi translations have won the initial awards from 2018-2021. The first Romain Rolland Book Prize was awarded to the Hindi translation of the book Rue des boutiques obscures by Patrick Modiano, translated by Monica Singh and published by Rajpal and Sons. In 2020, the prize was again awarded to a Hindi translation of Astérix comics by Albert Uderzo and René Goscinny, translated by Dipa Chaudhuri and Puneet Gupta, and published by Om books International.

The Tamil translation of Le mariage de plaisir by Tahar Ben Jelloun, translated by SA Vengada Soupraya Nayagar and published by Thadagam secured the prize in 2021. The translation of La vie d’un homme inconnu by Andrei Makine, by S R Kichenamourty into Tamil and published by Kalachuvadu Publication was awarded the prize in 2019.

Application process for Romain Rolland Book Prize 2023

The applications for the Romain Rolland Book Prize 2023 are now open. The 6th edition of the Romain Rolland Book Prize 2023 to award the best publication of a French title in India is supported by Priti Paul via the Apeejay Trust.

The translations from French into all Indian languages (including English) will be considered in literary fiction, children’s books, graphic novels and comics genres. Books that have been already submitted or proposed in the previous editions of the book prize, and the books translated by a jury member or consultant will not be considered for the prize.

A publication house can submit up to two titles. For the application, a publisher needs to submit 5 hard copies of the book; a PDF of the translated title (soft copy); a PDF of the original French title (soft copy); the synopsis and front cover of the title (HD version) (soft copy); an updated CV of the translator with his/her contact details (soft copy).

The jury will be chaired by the French Institute, the Embassy of France in India, and will be composed of professors from the esteemed universities in France and India, literary translators from both countries to assess the quality of the translation. A curated trip to Paris Book Fair (Livre Paris) awaits the winning publisher and the translator. 

The last date for the applications is 31 July 2022. Click here to apply. The postal address for submission of 5 hard copies of the book is as follows: Book Office, French Institute in India, 2, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Road, New Delhi 110011 .

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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