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Alumna Emma Ramadan G’14 Wins Prestigious Albertine Award

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For the second year running, Albertine, a project of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the US, awarded their prize for the best French-language fiction newly available in English. AUP Alumna Emma Ramadan G’14, translator of Anne Garréta’s novel Not One Day, was announced with Garréta as this year’s winner. She will split the $10,000 prize money with Garréta. The announcement of this year’s award was made by Lydia Davis, a friend of AUP’s Center for Writers & Translators and the author of Proust, Blanchot and a Woman in Red, the 5th cahier in the Center’s Cahiers Series.

When Ramadan discusses the process of translating Not One Day, she says that her collaboration with Garréta began with a series of Skype calls where Garréta would explain a few thoughts she had about subjects that appear in the novel, as well as some references that Ramadan might have missed. This collaboration was their second, the first being Ramadan’s translation of Garréta’s debut novel, Sphinx. For their collaboration for Not One Day, after their initial conversations, Ramadan produced a polished translation of Garréta’s novel, who then read though the entirety of the draft, giving feedback and suggestions. “Garréta’s involvement was especially valuable for a book like this that’s so personal,” Ramadan says. “It’s important to be able to tune into both her emotions and her thought patterns. And who better to help me achieve that than Garréta herself?”

Not One Day was the winner of the Prix Médicis in 2002, one of France’s most respected literary prizes. The novel begins with a maxim: “Not one day without a woman.” The pages that follow are intimate and erotic stories of loves and lovers. Garréta, a member of France’s venerable OULIPO group, constructs her story with often breathtaking prose, exploring what we remember, fantasize about and desire, and how these things are so often layered. Ramadan’s translation of Not One Day was also nominated for the Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Fiction and the French-American Foundation Prize.

Albertine is housed in a space devoted to books in French and English, offering more than 14,000 contemporary and classic titles from 30 French-speaking countries. It is a project of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the US. Albertine is found in the Cultural Services’ Headquarters in the Gilded-Age Payne Whitney mansion on New York’s Fifth Avenue.

Emma Ramadan G’14 completed her Master’s in Cultural Translation at AUP. She is now a literary translator based in Providence, Rhode Island, where she is also the co-owner of Riffraff, a bookstore and bar. She is the recipient of an NEA translation fellowship, a PEN/Heim grant, and a Fulbright scholarship to Morocco. Her forthcoming translations include Pretty Things by Virginie Despentes, The Shutters by Ahmed Bouanani, and Revenge of the Translator by Brice Matthieussent.