By Villa Albertine
Author and translator share annual reader’s choice award.
New York, December 8, 2021 – Nicolas Mathieu’s And Their Children After Them, translated by William Rodarmor and published Other Press (US) and Actes Sud (France), was named the winner of the 2021 Albertine Prize, presented by the French Embassy and supported by Van Cleef & Arpels.
An annual reader’s choice award, the Albertine Prize recognizes US-based readers’ favorite work of contemporary French fiction translated and published in the US during the previous year. This year, the $10,000 award honors author Nicolas Mathieu and translator William Rodarmor, who together brought this poignant post-industrial coming-of-age tale to US readers.
And Their Children After Them transports the reader to August 1992. One afternoon during a heatwave in a desolate valley somewhere in eastern France, with its dormant blast furnaces and its lake, fourteen-year-old Anthony and his cousin decide to steal a canoe to explore the famous nude beach across the water. The trip ultimately takes Anthony to his first love and a summer that will determine everything that happens afterward. Nicolas Mathieu conjures up a valley, an era, and the political journey of a young generation that has to forge its own path in a dying world. Four summers and four defining moments, from “Smells Like Teen Spirit” to the 1998 World Cup, encapsulate the hectic lives of the inhabitants of a France far removed from the centers of globalization, torn between decency and rage.
“And Their Children After Them explores a decade whose urgent questions––of gender and sexuality, de-industrialization, environmentalism, and more––strikingly mirror our own. The result is both moving and provocative, speaking to French and American readers with equal strength,” said Gaëtan Bruel, Cultural Counselor of the French Embassy. “My congratulations to Nicolas Mathieu and William Rodarmor for this remarkable achievement, and to our Albertine members, our cherished, faithful and astute community of readers.
With the aim of gathering a strong and engaged literary community around the Prize, starting this year voting was open exclusively to Albertine members––an opportunity for the jury to explore each nominated book in-depth and vote for their favorite over the course of a month.
The winning selection was announced today during an award ceremony at Albertine, the acclaimed bookshop of the French Embassy in New York City. Author Nicolas Mathieu and the translator William Rodarmor were presented the award by the Albertine Prize Honorary Chairs: Acclaimed American author Rachel Kushner, and editor-at-large of The New York Review of Books, director of the Robert B. Silvers Foundation, and bestselling author Daniel Mendelsohn. The ceremony also featured an intimate conversation between Nicolas Mathieu, William Rodarmor, and the two Co-Chairs, followed by a Q&A.
Buy the book here.
About Nicolas Mathieu
Nicolas Mathieu’s first novel, Aux animaux la guerre, was published in 2014 and adapted for television in 2018. He received the Prix Goncourt, France’s most prestigious literary award, in 2018 for his second novel, And Their Children After Them. His book Rose Royal is forthcoming in 2022 in English translation.
About William Rodarmor
William Rodarmor has translated some forty-five French books and screenplays in genres from literary fiction to espionage and fantasy. He lives in Berkeley, California. In 2017 Rodarmor won the Northern California Book Award for fiction translation for The Slow Waltz of Turtles, by Katherine Pancol. His other translations include The State of Israel vs. the Jews, by Sylvain Cypel, Article 353, by Tanguy Viel, Julien Parme, by Florian Zeller, and The Long Way, by Bernard Moitessier, which won the American Translators Association’s Lewis Galantière Award.
Van Cleef & Arpels
Founded at Paris’ 22 Place Vendôme in 1906, Van Cleef & Arpels came into being following Estelle Arpels’ marriage to Alfred Van Cleef in 1895. With a blend of inventiveness and poetry, Van Cleef & Arpels perpetuates a highly distinctive style. Its selection of exceptional gems that instill an emotion, and the savoir-faire of its craftsmen, have given birth to enchanting jewelry and watchmaking collections. Whether inspired by nature, couture, dance or imaginary worlds, the Maison opens the gate to a timeless universe of beauty and harmony. Van Cleef & Arpels’ constant commitment to creation also finds expression in its various activities as a partner and patron in the cultural field. Reflecting the Maison’s attachment to values of transmission and sharing, these initiatives take place in sectors that it holds dear: they include heritage protection, fine and decorative arts, design, dance and poetry.
New York Review of Books
With a worldwide circulation of over 145,000, The New York Review of Books has established itself, in Esquire’s words, as “the premier literary-intellectual magazine in the English language.” The New York Review began as an independent editorial voice during the New York publishing strike of 1963, when its founding editors, Robert Silvers and Barbara Epstein, and their friends, decided to create a new kind of magazine, in which the most interesting and qualified minds of our time would discuss current books and issues in depth. According to The New York Times, what has made the Review successful is its “stubborn refusal to treat books, or the theatre and movies, as categories of entertainment to be indulged in when the working day is done.”