Mare Nostrum Prize: the winners of 2022

Founded in the fall of 2020 in Perpignan in order to promote Mediterranean cultural and literary heritage, the Mare Nostrum – A Mediterranean otherwise association is made up of passionate and committed volunteers. For its second edition, the Mare Nostrum Prize today unveils the winners of the four categories: “Mediterranean novel”, “First novel”, “History and geopolitics”, “Philosophy and spirituality”.

With its website accessible in 37 languages, including all those of the Mediterranean basin, Mare Nostrum has, in less than two years, reviewed more than 600 works, counting more than a million page views, and just as many posts seen on social media. Thanks to the enthusiastic reception of the world of publishing in general, and authors in particular, it therefore holds a special place in Mediterranean culture.

In 2021, the first edition of the Mare Nostrum Prize saw the crowning in the “essays” category of the work of the first female imam in France, Kahina Bahloul, for My Islam, my freedom (Albin Michel). In the “novel” category, the prize was awarded to author Giulia Caminito for A day will come, at Gallmeister. The prize now has four categories: “Mediterranean novel”, “First novel”, “History and geopolitics”, “Philosophy and spirituality”. It has the originality of not making a distinction between “French” and “foreign” publications. Indeed, according to the Mare Nostrum manifesto, “the foreigner” does not exist; we all share the Mediterranean.

Each of the juries is made up of readers, writers and academics. They are renewed every year. The prize is endowed with an envelope of 12,000 euros, divided equally between the four winners. If an award-winning work is a translation, the prize will be 2,300 euros for the author and 700 euros for the translator. The Mare Nostrum Prize benefits from the support of the National Federation of Savings Banks and the Caisse d’Epargne du Languedoc-Roussillon. The award ceremony will take place on Wednesday, November 30 at 12 noon, at the headquarters of the National Federation of Savings Banks, 5 rue Masseran, Paris 7th.

The 2022 Mare Nostrum Prize Winners

Mare Nostrum: a wonderful family adventure

Behind this site, which is full of wonderful literary chronicles, is an equally wonderful family. Jean-Jacques Bedu is the founder of the Mare Nostrum association and the webmaster of the site. The magnificent graphic work is signed by his eldest daughter, Morgane Bedu. Seduced by the quality of the chronicles offered, a partnership with Ici Beyrouth – which draws eclectic chronicles there – was born in February 2022. As for the youngest of the family, Éliane Bedu, she is the president of the site and collaborates within of the editorial staff of Ici Beyrouth when his ultra-busy time allows it. We submitted a few questions to her since she could not be with us in order to announce the names of the winners herself.

A little more about Éliane Bedu – president of Mare Nostrum

Tell us about your academic background and your passion for Islam.

After completing a bachelor’s degree in theology and philosophy of religion at the University of Cambridge, I am a master’s student in social anthropology at the London School of Economics. During my studies, I was particularly interested in Islam, because it is a misunderstood religion. Instrumentalized for political purposes, the study of its theology and its symbolism is essential. Because of “Islamism”, which is a modern concept, the media and public opinion have a totally distorted view of the many components of Islam as it is practiced by the vast majority of our fellow citizens. Understanding Islamic theology is the first and indispensable step in interreligious and cultural dialogue.

We have also ordered a book from you. Can you tell us more?

Indeed, through the study of Islam, I particularly specialized in the fundamental role of this religion in Algeria during the colonial period, and especially how it was perceived by the French, both on Algerian soil and in the metropolis. Today, I am writing a book on the importance of the religious dimension in the formation of Algerian nationalism, and how Islam has gradually become a weapon of war and independence. This essay will be published in 2023 by Editions du Cerf.

You are the youngest and you sit at the top. How does that affect you?

Mare Nostrum is a chance. It’s an opportunity for young people, like me (I’m 20), to learn about the world of writing and publishing. Mare Nostrum allows our columnists to develop their literary talent and to be able to sit on the jury of a literary prize, without being part of the publishing world. But above all, Mare Nostrum is an access to culture offering our team endless reading possibilities. For me, Mare Nostrum is a chance, and it is thanks to this association that I was able to sign a publishing contract and begin my partnership with Ici Beyrouth as a columnist in the culture section.

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Mare Nostrum Prize: the winners of 2022