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19 must-read French books in translation

Launched in 1993 by the French Institute in the UK, the Burgess Grant is a translation programme dedicated to publishers leading an editorial policy including translations from the French into the English, in various fields including fiction, non-fiction and children’s literature, in order to support traduction and promotion costs.


This year, the French Book Office and the Burgess Committee are delighted to announce that 19 books of all genres were selected, including 5 graphic novels, as part of the french cultural programme “2020 : year of comics”.

Fiction/narrative non-fiction

Delphine de Vigan, Gratitude, translated by George Miller (Bloomsbury)

Virginie Despentes, King Kong Theory, translated by Frank Wynne (Fitzcarraldo Editions)

Hubert Mingarelli, The Invisible Land, translated by Sam Taylor (Granta Publications)

Nathalie Léger, The White Dress, translated by Natasha Lehrer (Les Fugitives)

Mahi Binebine, The King’s Fool, translated by Ben Faccini (MacLehose Press)

Virginie Despentes, Vernon Subutex III, translated by Frank Wynne (MacLehose Press)

Clara Dupont-Monod, The Revolt, translated by Ruth Diver (Quercus)

Nicolas Mathieu, And Their Children After Them, translated by William Rodarmor (Sceptre)

Olivier Guez, The Disappearance of Joseph Mengele, translated by Georgia de Chamberet (Verso Books)

Amin Maalouf, The Disoriented, translated by Frank Wynne (World Editions)


Graphic novels

Riad Sattouf, Esther’s Notebooks (1, 2 and 3), translated by Sam Taylor (Pushkin Press)

Benoist Simmat and Daniel Casanave, Wine: A Graphic History, translated by Edward Gauvin (Self Made Hero)

Jean-Noël Fabiani and Philippe Bercovici, Medicine: A Graphic History, translated by Edward Gauvin (Self Made Hero)

Jean-Marc Rochette and Olivier Bocquet, Altitude, translated by Edward Gauvin (Self Made Hero)

Cédric Taling, Thoreau and Me, translated by Edward Gauvin (Self Made Hero)


Children’s

Damien Laverdunt and Hélène Rajcak, Animals of the Lost Worlds, translated by Daniel Hahn (Gecko Press)


Non-fiction

Simone Weil, The Need For Roots, translated by Ros Schwartz (Penguin Classics)

Grégoire Chamayou, The Ungovernable Society, translated by Andrew Brown (Polity Press)

William Marx, The Tomb of Oedipus, translated by Nicholas Elliott (Verso Books)

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