National Literary Competition The poet Ulrike Bail has been awarded the 1st prize of the National Literary Competition.

On 16th October 2020, the poet Ulrike Bail was awarded the 1st prize in the "adult authors" category of the National Literary Competition with her poetry collection statt einer ankunft.

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 writers have been awarded prizes and most 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The texts submitted to the competition must be unpublished and may not be published by any means before the official results are presented.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. Collection was the theme of the 2020 edition. Overall, 67 writers submitted a text, including 52 in the "adult category" and 15 in the "young authors" category.

The awards ceremony will take place on 8 December 2020 at the National Literature Centre in Mersch. Given the exceptional health situation associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of places is limited, but people can attend remotely via livestreaming.

The winners

The following poetry books have been awarded by the jury of the 2020 National Literary Competition: 

  • statt einer ankunft by Ulrike Bail, 1st prize in the "adult authors" category for his "sensitive and poignant take on ordinary life in Luxembourg City", translated in a poem about a journey across the city and the language with no arrival or specific destination. 
  • Petite cosmogonie des poèmes avec jardin by Serge Basso was awarded the 2nd prize and à bord by Paul Mathieu the 3rd prize in the same category.
  • Tom Weber was awarded the 1st prize in the "young authors aged 15-25" category for his poetry book fluides herz , bearing witness to a great talent for poetry. Language experiments and word games animate the central metaphor of fluids throughout the work. 
Ulrike Bail
© Dirk Skiba

A jury of national experts

The jury for the 2020 competition was composed of:

  • Lambert Schlechter (President), internationally acclaimed Luxembourgish writer
  • Claude Bommertz, Writer and Researcher-Archivist
  • Sarah Lippert, Professor of Literature and Theatre and journalist
  • Tonia Raus, Teaching Assistant in French Language and Literature and their Learning at the University of Luxembourg
  • Raoul Walisch, writer

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