Tamil translation of French book wins Romain Rolland Book Prize for literary translation

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JAIPUR: The Tamil translation of Andrei Makine's "La vie d'un homme inconnu" (The Life of an Unknown Man) was awarded the second Romain Rolland Prize for literary translation here at the ongoing Jaipur Literature Festival on Friday.

Translated by S R Kichenamourty, former head of the French department of Pondicherry University, the book is published by Kalachuvadu, a publisher of Tamil modern classics and contemporary fiction writing.

French ambassador Alexandre Ziegler, who presented the award, said the competition received "excellent translations", particularly from the south.

"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," the French ambassador said.

Apart from the winning entry, the short list included Malayalam translations of "Révolution dans la Révolution" (Revolution in the Revolution) and "La Peste" (The Plague) by Régis Debray, and Albert Camus, respectively.

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 one-month residency in France.

The ambassador said that Paris Book Fair, to be organised in 2020 will be 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. India will attend the fair as the Guest of Honour."

The winning title – "The Life of an Unknown Man" is the story of Shutov, a disenchanted writer, who revisits Saint Petersburg after twenty years of exile in Paris, hoping to recapture his youth.

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