Spotlight on Russian and French languages and literature
The “France-Russia 2012: languages and literature” year is due to open on 25 January in Moscow and close in December in Paris. In between, a whole host of events are planned in both countries with, as their central themes, writing and writers, translation and educational activities designed for young people.
In 2010, France-Russia year sparked a wide variety of events related to culture, but also to trade, industry, agriculture, science, education and sport, not to mention gastronomy, giving a genuine impetus to Franco-Russian relations.
It is precisely with the intention of building on this success that the “France-Russia 2012: languages and literature” year has been devised, on a narrower theme, with the aim of promoting the language and literature of both countries.
Works of literature and their authors will have star billing at prestigious events. Moscow will be the guest-of-honour city at the Paris Book Fair from 16 to 19 March 2012, and St Petersburg the guest-of-honour city at the Nice Book Fair on 8, 9 and 10 June. Reciprocally, France will be guest of honour at the Moscow Book Fair next September and the city of Nice will be guest of honour at the St Petersburg Book Fair.
In December 2012, Moscow will host the exhibition Les 100 ans de Gallimard [Gallimard: 100 Years of Publishing] as part of the Non-fiction Fair. At the same time, 12 Russian authors will be doing a Tour de France for Writers in 12 French cities, in partnership with the Maison des Ecrivains. Similarly, 12 French writers will be invited to travel across Russia along the River Yenisei, from Krasnoyarsk to Igarka.
The organisers attach particular importance to translation. La Fabrique des Traducteurs, a training programme run by the Collège International des Traducteurs Littéraires in Arles, will offer a training course for five young translators from Russian to French and five young translators from French to Russian, in Arles from 23 April to 29 June. The course will be followed by a conference on translation. At the same time, a conference on linguistic diversity and the concepts of the Francophone world and Russophilia will be organised in Moscow. This will be an opportunity to consider a future partnership between the institute of translation that has just been set up in Russia, the Collège International des Traducteurs Littéraires in the town of Arles and the French Ministry of Culture’s Department for Books and Reading. In this context, the award of the annual Russophonie prize to the best translation into French of a Russian book, will of course have a special resonance.
The educational aspect is also very significant. Schools will be setting up an introduction to the theatre or poetry and will organise student trips. Several measures will be taken in Russia to raise the profile of French language and literature among young people, on the themes of the cartoon strip, young people’s literature and culture with an Education Train. In France, the Franco-Russian event will make its presence felt in exhibitions for schoolchildren and students in the form of stands, forums, performances and more.
Following on from the Moscow symposium on the modernisation of educational systems in 2010, a seminar and a forum of university presidents will be held in France at the Sorbonne in April 2012. Already the promoters of the France-Russia year feel that it will help in the creation of the future Russian House at the Cité Universitaire Internationale de Paris and that the number of exchanges between students and teachers is bound to increase in the coming years.
The history of Franco-Russian relations will also be the subject of a major conference, being organised as part of the series on the history of Europe, the 9th Journées de l’Histoire de L’Europe, on the diplomatic and cultural relations between the two countries from 1812 to 2012. In conclusion, an exhibition, Franco-Russian links and intellectual exchanges, a journey into the archives of the 20th century, will be held in the autumn in Paris and Moscow.
The France-Russia year is sponsored by the Head of the Russian Presidential Administration for International Cultural Cooperation, Sergei Narishkin, and by the French Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, Alain Juppé. Its general administrators are Xavier Darcos, President of the Institut Français and Mikhail Shvydkoi, Special Representative of the Russian Federation for International Cultural Cooperation. The French Administration will finance the major operations in France; the Russian Administration the major operations in Russia. Support for other operations will be provided by the cultural department of the French Embassy in Russia and by the Russian cultural agencies and services in France. While the programme is still likely to grow, we are already seeing that it intends to combine entertainment with education, and set in motion a long-term dynamic that will take us into the future.