The 2022 Mare Nostrum Prize announces its winners

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 Mon Islam, ma liberté chez Albin Michel. In the “novel” category, the prize was awarded to the author Giulia Caminito for Un jour va, at Gallmeister.

The Prize now has four categories: Mediterranean Novel, First Novel, History and Geopolitics, Philosophy and Spirituality. Its originality is that it does not distinguish between “French” and “foreign” publications. Indeed, according to the Mare Nostrum manifesto, “the foreigner” does not exist; we all share the Mediterranean.

Here are the different winners:

In the Mediterranean novel category : Anaïs Llobet, with At the cafe in the lost city – Editions of the Observatory

In 1974, Varosha suffered a tragedy, transforming this thriving seaside town with idyllic beaches into a ghost town. This ancient jewel on the east coast of Cyprus was one of the Mediterranean tourist jewels, until the Turkish army invaded the place, forcing the Greek Cypriots to flee leaving everything behind.

It is there, on this Cypriot land divided in two, as Palestine was a little earlier, that Anaïs Llobet gives birth to her story. Right words made of painful memories and teeming with anecdotes on the theme of exile and attachment to roots, make this book a poignant and symbolic novel of many contemporary tragedies.

In the first novel category : Rebecca Benhamou, with The regulars of suspended time – Fayard

This beautiful book by Rebecca Benhamou emphasizes reconciliation between the two shores of the Mediterranean. It evokes a time, unfortunately bygone, when Jews, Christians and Muslims lived in harmony, within a country which will only be revealed on the last page. By showing the damage of successive wars, the author calls for peace.

Inspired by the life of his grandfather, the book questions time and memory. Populated with endearing characters, this first novel insists on the transmission between generations, through shared stories, and the pacifying function of music.

In the History and Geopolitics category : David Abulafia, with The Great Sea: A History of the Mediterranean and the Mediterranean People – translated from English by Olivier Salvatori – Les Belles Lettres

At the antipodes of Fernand Braudel in his approach to the Mediterranean, the book by David Abulafia, as a passionate storyteller, makes us discover its history in five major periods and under the aspect of the human sciences. Illustrated with magnificent iconography and enriched with didactic maps, it has everything that a major historical work requires: an important theme, solid research, sumptuous and accessible writing, and a very insightful vision of human nature, sometimes not devoid of humor… In summary, a book teeming with fascinating historical anecdotes to put in all hands.

In the category Philosophy and spirituality : Stephanie E. binder, with Tertullian and me – Editions du Cerf

Researcher at Bar-Ilan University, Stéphanie É. Binder is one of the internationally recognized specialists in the relations between Jews, Greeks and Romans in the ancient world. From her incessant dialogue with Tertullian, a fruitful exchange beyond times and places, she offers us a rare and magnificent example of ego-history where the disclosure of an unknown past sheds light on the hidden misunderstanding of the present.

By drawing on the sources of the thought of this Christian African from Carthage, it invites us to renew our relationship with Antiquity and above all to mobilize the wisdom of the ancients in the resolution of all our ills.

Each of the juries is made up of readers, writers and academics. They are renewed every year. The prize is endowed with a budget of €12,000, divided equally between the four winners. If an award-winning work is a translation, the prize will be €2,300 for the author and €700 for the translator.

The Mare Nostrum Prize benefits from the support of the Fédération Nationale des Caisses d’Épargne and the Caisse d’Épargne du Languedoc-Roussillon. The award ceremony will take place on Wednesday November 30 at 12 noon, at the headquarters of the Fédération Nationale des Caisses d’Épargne, 5 rue Masseran, Paris 7th.

Find the list of French and Francophone literary prizes

Visual credits: Mare Nostrum Association – A different Mediterranean

The 2022 Mare Nostrum Prize announces its winners