Paris Writers Press Receives Grant for Translating Jean-Jacques Pauvert’s Memoir

The Paris Writers Press has received an award from the French Ministry of Culture and Communication through the National Book Center, to fund the translation of La Traversée du livre, a memoir written by the iconic French publisher Jean-Jacques Pauvert (1926 – 2014). The new English translation An Odyssey in Books, is scheduled to be available by December 2015. Éditions Viviane Hamy published the original French version in 2004.

In his prize-winning memoir La Traversée du livre  (An Odyssey in Books), Jean-Jacques Pauvert recounts in vivid detail, his meteoric rise to the top of the French book world, which started 1942 in the mailroom of Gallimard publishers.  By the tender age of twenty, he openly published the banned works of the Marquis de Sade leading to a protracted legal struggle with the French authorities. A similar firestorm erupted when he published Histoire D’O (The Story of O) in 1954, a daring work by Pauline Reage, a pseudonym used by Dominique Aury. His other authors included Gide, Sartre, Bataille, Genet, Beauvoir and Breton.

Pauvert’s memoir also describes his being arrested and jailed for three months by the Nazis for his role as a courier with the Resistance.

An Odyssey in Books is a captivating story of a young man figuring out how to be a publisher as he went along and an invaluable social history of art, literature, politics, and Parisian life from World War II to the May 1968 revolution.

The winner of the 2005 Elle Magazine Reader’s Grand Prize, the new English edition, An Odyssey in Books, was translated by Lynn Jeffress.

The National Book Center or Centre National du Livre (CNL) provides grants for translations of high quality French literature.  Since 2001, the National Book Center has supported more than 6,400 projects for translation from French into foreign languages.

In 2014, approximately 600,000 Euros were allocated for translations. The CNL funds from forty to sixty percent of translation costs. The Paris Writers Press will receive sixty percent, the maximum allocation.

The Paris Writers Press, founded by Mary Duncan in 2011, is a small independent press committed to publishing books, which focus on lingering social and political issues.  PWP publishes literary fiction, non-fiction, memoirs and French translations that relate to France.

For more information contact:  Mary Duncan


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Mary Duncan

About Mary Duncan

Mary Duncan, a native San Diegan, grew up in National City, where Henry Miller said he found his identity. In searching for her identity, she has traveled to numerous countries and prefers to be where there is action, diversity and controversy. Her research specialty as a professor at San Diego State University was the “troubles” in Belfast, Northern Ireland and the Irish Republican Army. She focused on the conflict’s impact on children and the internal organization of the I.R.A. and its cell groups. In addition she has researched children and play patterns in Mexican squatter villages, Arab Tourism in London and international terrorism. In 1982, she moved to La Jolla, a seaside community in San Diego. She met people who introduced her to the worlds of Henry Miller, Simone de Beauvoir, Colette and other writers. And it is in these worlds that she found relief from the stress and uncertainty that emanated from her Belfast research. Paris and La Jolla entered her life almost simultaneously. In Paris she created a circle of friends and started building a foundation for a life in the City of Light. After her marriage to Yuri Loskutov, a Russian, she lived in Moscow several months of the year and founded Shakespeare and Company Bookstore Moscow. Since 2000, she has mainly lived in Paris. In 2005, she purchased an archive consisting of audio tapes, photographs and correspondence related to the life of Henry Miller. Some of these materials are described in her memoir, “Henry Miller is Under My Bed: People and Place on the Way to Paris.” (2008). She is a member of the Advisory Committee for the Henry Miller Memorial Library in BIg Sur, California and is is a patron of the Shakespeare and Company Literary Festival. In 2008, she founded the Paris Writers Group. In between her writing and travels, she continues to live in Paris.