Jérôme Quiqueret, who was born in Nancy but has lived in Luxembourg since 2003, won the prestigious Servais Prize for his book "Tout devait disparaître". The prize, which is given to works published in the previous year, is one of the country’s most prestigious literary prizes.
The true story of a double murder committed in Esch-sur-Alzette in the late summer of 1910
On 14 September 1910, Françoise and Henri Kayser-Paulus, both in their fifties, are found murdered in their bedroom. Their rustic and spacious house is located on the outskirts of the Grenz district in Esch-sur-Alzette. The construction of a new steel plant has attracted thousands of foreign workers to this working-class neighbourhood since the beginning of the year. These workers have settled in the area alongside old Eschois families who are the beating heart of social life in the town. Police investigators begin to look for the perpetrator among all these inhabitants. The profile of the killer embodies the local citizen's idea of technical progress, the advantage that the various political clans can hope to gain from his act, and the reputation of a city that is becoming ever-increasingly linked to revolutionary ideals. As long as the killer is found...
The story plunges the reader in the everyday life of the people and the political and ideological tensions of the era. It is also a multi-layered portrait of the city of Esch-sur-Alzette which we uncover from a new perspective. The author illustrates the societal transitions and tensions taking place in the region, the country and the continent, as well as the power relations between individuals, societies and peoples and the cultural and everyday life of the inhabitants. The author portrays the characters with curiosity and empathy and takes the opportunity to give an atypical view of various personalities in the country's literary history.
Jérôme Quiqueret weaves a web using a journalistic style, historical documentation and true crime into a fictional framework and thus questions the narrative, rhythmic and compositional resources of literary writing. The question that arises from the story is how to read, interpret and narrate written traces of the past.
The author grew up in Nancy, France. He studied history at the University of Nancy. Since 2003, he has lived in Luxembourg and works as a journalist.
The novel is published by capybarabooks.
Thirty years of awards
The Servais Prize, awarded by the eponymous Foundation, is a literary prize and includes € 6,000 in prize money which has been granted every year since 1992 for works of poetry or prose published in Luxembourg, irrespective of the language of publication. Its previous winners include many of Luxembourg’s most famous writers, including Francis Kirps (2020), Elise Schmit (2019), Nico Helminger (2018) and Nora Wagener (2017). The Servais Prize is awarded by an independent jury.
The 2023 Servais prize is awarded on 3 July at the Centre national de littérature (CNL) in Mersch. The eulogy was given by Mr Bernard Thomas, a French journalist, theatre critic, columnist and writer, author of various novels and essays.