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Zoo City Nominated for Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire (Plus: Interview with Joey Hi-Fi and Lauren Beukes)

Alert! This morning we learned from Twitter that Lauren Beukes‘ acclaimed novel, Zoo City, has been nominated for three of France’s esteemed Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire awards in the categories Best Foreign Novel, Best Translation and Best Cover Design, marking something of a coup for SA lit.

Zoo City will compete for Best Foreign Novel against Aliette de Bodard’s Servant of the Underworld, China Miéville’s The City & the City, The Philosopher’s Apprentice by James Morrow and Dan Simmons’ Drood.

Meanwhile Lawrence Philibert-Caillat is up against Patrick Dusoulier (Surface Detail by Ian M Banks and Shades of Grey: The Road to High Saffron by Jasper Fforde), Mélanie Fazi (Thus are born the ghosts by Lisa Tuttle and Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson), Nathalie Mege (The City & the City by China Miéville) and Philippe Rouard (The Philosopher’s Apprentice by James Morrow) for his translation of Zoo City into French. Lastly, Joey Hi-Fi – aka Dale Halvorsen – has been nominated for his stunning Zoo City cover art alongside Nicolas Fructus for Le Dragon Griaule by Lucius Shepard, Bastien L for The Desmolished Man by Alfred Bester and Diego Tripodi for Osama the Gun by Norman Spinrad.

The winners will be announced on Saturday, 26 May, at the Etonnants Voyageurs (Amazing Travellers) Festival in Saint-Malo.

Zoo CityMaverickMoxylandMoxylandThe Big StickThe Institute for Taxi Poetry

Hi-Fi also won a British Science Fiction Association award last year for his Zoo City cover and has since produced several other eye-catching designs, most recently for The Big Stick by Richard de Nooy and The Institute for Taxi Poetry by Imraan Coovadia. He has also done all of Beukes’ covers since she debuted with Maverick in 2004.

City Press‘s Charl Blignaut spoke to Hi-Fi and Beukes about their history of collaboration and the appeal of Zoo City‘s award-winning design:

There’s a pause when I ask Joey Hi-Fi if doors have opened since he won a British Science Fiction Association award last year for his cover art for Lauren Beukes’s Zoo City.

“Not really, no. I suppose I got, like, more respect, that’s the upside. It’s hard in South Africa, working as a book-cover designer. It’s not very lucrative and it’s tough to get new ideas out. I’m also selective about my jobs. I prefer to do things that haven’t been done before.”

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Recent comments:

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Lauren Beukes</a>
    Lauren Beukes
    April 2nd, 2012 @15:22 #

    Laurent was amazing to work with as a translator and I know my rival in best foreign book, Aliette de Bodard feels the same way. He's hugely detail-oriented, with excellent Google Fu for digging up obtuse South African slang on the Internet.

    He worked very closely and carefully with me and even made me rewrite several paragraphs that didn't make sense to him. And then when I dashed something off and sent it back, made me do it again (with sorta a politely raised eyebrow).

    In other words, he has an editor's eye for translation. (And possibly even scarier than working with my SA editor, Helen, who raises hell but not eyebrows)

    I'm really holding out for him to win, although I don't know what the other translators are like.

    And obviously Joey Hifi's cover is the most beautiful thing on earth. I may be slightly biased here.

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    April 2nd, 2012 @17:01 #

    Oh wow oh wow, this is all truly amazing. She Who Raises Hell is ecstatic, esp as the art and craft of translation is all too often under-rated or even ignored.

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    April 2nd, 2012 @18:08 #

    Vive les Freaks du Sud! Great going. Holding all three thumbs.

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Alex Smith</a>
    Alex Smith
    April 3rd, 2012 @10:15 #

    How fabulous and exciting for all three of you. The translator and that whole experience sounds brilliant (challenging, but so cool). Well done, whatever happens.


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