John-Paul Gomez wins the first prize in the "adult authors" category of the 2022 National Literary Competition with the collection of stories The Idiot of St. Benedict.
The jury of the National Literary Competition 2021 analysed and awarded prizes to the following works on the basis of literary and linguistic criteria and originality:
- The Idiot of St. Benedict by John-Paul Gomez was awarded first prize in the category "adult authors" for the audacity of this project which dares to shape a dystopian, more or less science-fictional world with stylistic succinctness, originality and a prodigious mastery of the English language.
- Das Geräusch der Stillleben (The sound of still life) by Guy Helminger, was awarded second prize in the category "adult authors". In the book, one story follows another, and focuses on individuals who are on the margins of society. The stories are described with humour and a sense of the absurd, while the narrative structure is both convoluted and intelligent.
- Perfect Spheres – Stories and Complaints by Elise Schmit was awarded third prize in the category "adult authors". The jury appreciated its slow pace and broad range of stories which are developed with clever and subtle thematic links as well as a particularly impressive interplay of perspective and narrative.
- Do women love? by Zeynep Celik, received the encouragement prize in the "young authors from 15 to 25 years" category to motivate the young author to continue her work and develop a promising first draft of her work.
A prize brimming with history and emotion
The National Literary Competition has been held every year since 1978 and is organised by the Ministry of Culture. Its aim is to promote literary creation in Luxembourg and act as a catalyst for new authors. Since its creation, approximately 130 writers have been awarded prizes and most of them have gained recognition on the national and international stage.
The works submitted to the competition must be original and may not be published in any form before the official results are presented.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 theme of the 2022 edition was storytelling. A total of 44 projects were submitted in the "adult authors" category and four in the "young authors of 15-25 year olds" category.
The award ceremony took place on 13 December 2022 at the National Literature Centre in Mersch.
A jury of national experts
The members of the jury for the 2022 competition were:
- Pascal Seil (chairman), curator National Centre for Literature and author
- Mylène Branco, post-doctoral researcher at the Faculty of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences of the University of Luxembourg
- Marion Rockenbrod, member of the Books and Brochures Department of the Luxembourg National Library ("Fonds luxembourgeois de la Bibliothèque nationale du Luxembourg")
- Jeff Schinker, editor-in-chief of the culture department of the Luxembourg daily newspaper Tageblatt and author
- Jeff Thoss, journalist and literary critic