Antoine Pohu has received the first prize in the 'young authors aged 15 to 25' category of the 2019 national literary competition for his French-language novel La Quête. The jury highlighted the level of the young author's stylistic maturity and so we wanted to find out more about him - his passion, his career, his book, and his plans for the future.
A multi-faceted author
Antoine Pohu, born in 1999, is a Franco-Luxembourgish author. He is a student of history, in Brussels. But his passion for writing is the determining feature in his everyday life: he reads and writes every day, and these two activities set his daily pace.
At the age of 16, he first picked up a pencil and wrote a play "that no-one will talk about" (to quote the author).
At the time, music was still the most important thing in his life. His love of music goes back to his childhood. But poems and short prose texts began to take over, replacing the piano. These days, music is still very much a part of the author's life and although he plays less, he listens more.
In 2018, his text entitled Le Masque was published in les cahiers luxembourgeois, and won the Laurence Prize. Since then, literature has represented an increasingly large proportion of his leisure activities, boosted by two awards at the 'Jeune Printemps' competition.
In 2019, Antoine Pohu won the first prize in the 'young authors aged 15 to 25' category at the national literary competition for his novel La Quête.
As he juggles his studies, writing texts and novels, and enjoying the Brussels nightlife, his balance comes in the form of sport, mainly cycling and climbing.
La Quête – a prizewinning book to read
Antoine Pohu finds his inspiration in literature, photography, music, films, and everyday life. He is motivated quite simply by the need and the desire to write.
He started writing his first novel in October 2018; the book is published in July 2020 by the Op der Lay publishing house.
The author worked for days on the opening sentences, but he had decided on the outline of the plot when he began writing. His many sources of inspiration include Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's The Little Prince and Hayao Miyazaki's animated film Spirited away, both of which influenced the general tone of La Quête.
The jury of the national literary competition said his book showed great stylistic maturity. The novel relates two stories in parallel: that of a writer discussing his past and his position in relation to the beauty of everyday life, and that of the same writer telling the story of two orphaned children travelling through space in a boat.
The author tries to write in a clear, straightforward style, choosing his words for their precision, yet the result is poetic.
Listen to an extract from the book, read by Antoine Pohu. The clip is part of the #LiteraturLiwwererOnline project run by Jérôme Jaminet, a teacher, literary critic, and mediator, who lives in the Grand Duchy. Jérôme Jaminet was also the president of the jury for the 2019 national literary competition.
What comes next
Antoine Pohu would of course like to be able to make a living writing one day, but in the meantime he is pursuing his studies conscientiously, with hopes for a diplomatic career. Whatever the future holds, he has decided to always make time for writing.
He has already completed a collection of texts, entitled Plasticité narrative de l’Imagination. Another novel is on its way. This is the young writer's great pleasure. And he has already begun to make notes for a third book.
If he could have just one wish, it would be for eternal confinement (with no online lectures and exams), so that he could spend his days reading and writing. (laughter on the part of the author) He hopes that his readers will find his books soothing, and that they will feel better for having read them.