2023 Fu Lei translation awards announce 10 finalists, 10 17, 2023

The Fu Lei Translation and Publishing Award revealed this year's ten finalists on Thursday at the French Culture Center. Selected from 46 French-to-Chinese works — 35 on social science and 11 on fiction — recommended by Chinese publishing houses, the shortlist comprises five volumes of each.

The two final winners will be selected from each category on Nov 18 in South China's Guangdong province. Meanwhile, the Newcomer Award, initiated in 2013, will be presented to one newfound talent in translating.

The annual prize, named after the Chinese master translator and writer, was founded by the French Embassy in China in 2009 to recognize outstanding translators and publishing houses.

"Now in its 15th edition, the prize has become a benchmark in the Franco-Chinese book world and gained great word-of-mouth in the translation community, which is a fruit of the close cooperation between China's French-speaking intellectuals and the French Embassy in China," remarked Dong Qiang, chairman of the Fu Lei Translation and Publication Award committee, at a press conference in Beijing.

Journalist and writer Caroline Puel is acting as jury president for the 2023 Fu Lei Prize.

Puel, a founding prize judge, said the ten shortlisted books are excellent in both translation and editing. "The original intent for this prize was not merely for encouraging translators but also for inspiring editors. I am glad to see the editing quality of the works in the running has grown by leaps and bounds over the last 15 years," she said.

The judge noted that more and more contemporary French books are being translated into Chinese, and the themes of the works are becoming more diverse, especially in the social science category, where readers can find books on Egyptian archeology, history, math and health.

The jury president, a China expert who received the Albert Londres Prize for her coverage of China, said she was impressed that many of this year's French literary titles deal with issues, including the mother-daughter relationship, class solidification and lost youths searching for meaning in life, which can resonate with the Chinese readers, as the French and Chinese societies have so much in common.

As the Covid-19 pandemic is behind us, this year's Fu Lei Prize will welcome French guest of honor novelist Muriel Barbery, author of The Elegance of the Hedgehog, who will attend the awards ceremony, according to Nicolas Pillerel, minister counselor for culture, education and scientific affairs of the French Embassy in China.

Simplified Chinese has remained the largest target language for exporting French literature's foreign copyright for ten consecutive years. In 2022, up to 1,300 French titles were acquired by Chinese publishers.

These works can only be offered to Chinese readers because of the hard work of translators, with more and more younger translators coming to the fore. It is worth noting that eight of the ten finalists for the 2023 Fu Lei Prize were born in the 1980s or 1990s, according to the award committee.