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Jean-Paul Clébert was a boy from a respectable middle-class family who ran away from school, joined the French Resistance, and never looked back. Making his way to Paris at the end of World War II, Clébert took to living on the streets, and in Paris Vagabond, a so-called “aleatory novel” assembled out of sketches he jotted down at the time, he tells what it was like. Praised on publication by novelist and poet Blaise Cendrars and embraced by the young Situationists as a kind of manual for living off the grid, Paris Vagabond is a raw and celebratory evocation of the life of a city and the underside of life.
Donald Nicholson-Smith translates from French and Spanish into English, specializing in fiction and poetry, as well as psychology and social criticism. In addition to his forthcoming translation of Jean-Paul Clébert's Paris Vagabond (NYRB, 2016), he has translated works by Jean Piaget, Jean-Patrick Manchette, Guy Debord, Paco Ignacio Taibo II, J.B. Pontalis and Jean Laplanche, Thierry Jonquet, Henri Lefebvre, Raoul Vaneigem, and Abdellatif Laâbi. He has received a variety of awards and was short-listed for the French-American Prize for his translation of Apollinaire's Letters to Madeleine (Seagull, 2010). He belongs to the Translators Association of the Society of Authors (London) and the PEN America Translators' Group (New York). He has been named a Chevalier des Arts et Lettres for services to French literature in translation.