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 .