An award full of history and voices
The National Literary Competition has been held every year since 1978 and is organized by the Ministry of Culture. Its aim is to encourage literary creation in Luxembourg and to act as a catalyst for new voices. Since its creation, approximately 125 authors have been awarded prizes and the majority of them are now recognized nationally and internationally.
The texts submitted to the competition must be unpublished and may not be published by any means before the official results are presented. The first prize in the category of "adult authors" is awarded €5,000 and a contribution to the publication costs by a renowned publisher. The author retains all rights to the publication.
Every year, the competition focuses on another literary genre. The 2019 edition was reserved for novels in Luxembourgish, French, German or English. A total of 34 adult authors submitted a text. 7 works were in French, 16 in German, 9 in English and 2 in Luxembourgish.
4 young authors submitted their work, including one in French and three in German.
Minister of Culture Sam Tanson presented the prizes of the National Literary Competition at the National Literary Centre in Mersch during a festive evening with a musical programme by Bartleby Delicate, readings, a round table and a reception.
I.L.E. by Samuel Hamen is a mixture of crime fiction and dystopian narrative, which convinced the jury also because of its "sovereign and creative language".
Antoine Pohu received the 1st prize in the "15-25 year-old young authors" category for his French novel La Quête, which demonstrates great stylistic maturity. The double story tells, with great intensity and many hints, the story of an author in search of inspiration and two orphans on a journey to themselves.
(from left to right) Olivia Katrandjian, author; Antoine Pohu, author; Anja Di Bartolomeo, author; Sam Tanson, Minister for Culture; Samuel Hamen, author; Jérôme Jaminet, author
A jury of national experts
The jury for the 2019 competition was composed of:
- Jérôme Jaminet (president), professor, literary critic and mediator
- Fabienne Gilbertz, University of Luxembourg - "Institut de langue et de littératures luxembourgeoises"
- Ludivine Jehin, curator at the National Literature Centre in Mersch
- Marcel Kieffer, retired journalist
- Jay Schiltz, journalist, author and cabaret artist