The 2020 Translation Prize Winners

July 22, 2020

The French-American Foundation, thanks to the generous support of the Florence Gould Foundation, is proud to announce the winners of this year’s Translation Prize competition. The goal of the Translation Prize, in existence since 1986, is to honor translators and celebrate excellence in translation from French into English in the categories of fiction and nonfiction. The prize also serves the purpose of promoting French literature in the United States and increasing the visibility of publishers who bring notable French works to American readers. The 2020 awards honor works published in the 2019 calendar year.

The winners, who were chosen by a jury of professionals, shared a monetary award of $10,000 per category. The Foundation acknowledged their accomplishments with an online celebration that was held on Thursday, September 10 over Zoom. The winners, joined with other notable literary professionals, shared thoughts on their work and took questions from interested members of the public.

Fiction winner

Alyson Waters, for her translation of “A King Alone” by Jean Giono, New York Review Books

Photo Credit: Margot Kerlidou

Alyson Waters has translated the work of Vassilis Alexakis, Daniel Arasse, Albert Cossery, Louis Aragon, Emmanuel Bove, and Daniel Pennac, among several others. Her translation of Eric Chevillard’s Prehistoric Times won the 2012 Florence Gould/French-American Foundation Translation Prize. She has received a National Endowment for the Arts Translation Fellowship, a PEN Translation Fund grant, and several residency grants in France and Canada. She teaches literary translation at Yale University and is the managing editor of Yale French Studies. Her translation of Jean-Patrick Manchette’s No Room at the Morgue is forthcoming from New York Review Books, which also published her translation of Jean Giono’s A King Alone, for which she is being awarded this prize now. She is a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Nonfiction winners

Michael Loriaux and Jacob Levi, for their co-translation of “Murderous Consent: on the Accommodation of Violent Death” by Marc Crépon, Fordham University Press

Michael Loriaux is Professor of Political Science at Northwestern University and founder and Director of Northwestern’s French Interdisciplinary Group. He also directs Northwestern’s Paris Program on Art, Literature, and Contemporary European Thought, offered in partnership with the University of Paris Sorbonne Nouvelle. He has written extensively on European unification, and translated into English Marc Crépon’sThe Thought of Death and the Memory of War  (University of Minnesota Press). 


Jacob Levi is a scholar and translator of 20th Century European philosophy and literature. He is a PhD candidate in the Department of Comparative Thought and Literature at Johns Hopkins University, and a graduate of the École Normale Supérieure. He is currently in the final stages of his doctoral dissertation on Jewish intellectuals in Paris during the 1960s, entitled “The Adventure of the Book: Jabès, Derrida, Levinas.” Jacob’s research focuses on the history of phenomenology, philosophy of language, and modern Jewish thought, and his work has appeared in journals including Modern Language Notes, Implications Philosophiques, and Europe Now. He has also translated texts by philosophers including Jean-Luc Nancy, Alain Badiou, and Jacques Derrida.