The first edition of the Literary Prize for Marine Writers rewarded Antoine Sénanque on Wednesday for his 9th novel, Croix de cendre, published in August by Editions Grasset, and which was a finalist for the Grand Prix du roman de l'Académie française. The prize was officially presented to him in the lounges of the MOB House hotel in Saint-Ouen, during a lunch bringing together jurors, journalists and officers of the French Navy. The endowment amounts to 10,000 euros. Antoine Sénanque won in the 4th round of voting, against Patrick Deville and his Indian novel Samsara (Le Seuil) and Clara Arnaud (And you will pass like winds mad, Actes Sud).
Visibly moved, Antoine Sénanque, born in 1959, declared himself happy to have received this first award, with “its scent of the ocean, of the sea”. A vast historical fresco taking place in the 14th century, acclaimed by critics, Cross of Ashes is set in a Europe ravaged by the Black Death and as its tutelary figure is Master Eckhart, through the tribulations of two Dominican monks in search of rare and precious parchments.
The association of marine writers, linked to the French Navy, created twenty years ago by Jean-François Deniau (1928-2007), and chaired today by the writer Patrice Franceschi, has 22 members, all sworn judges of this new literary distinction. Among them, let us cite Sylvain Tesson, Didier Decoin (also president of the Académie Goncourt), Yann Queffélec; the academicians Eric Orsenna, Jean-Christophe Rufin and Daniel Rondeau, Jean-Luc Coatalem, who has just published A Room at the Hôtel Mékong, the navigators Titouan Lamazou and Isabelle Autissier, the vice-admiral Patrick Finaz, the Italian Andrea Marcolongo (vice-president of Marine Writers), Olivier Frébourg and the Spanish novelist Arturo Pérez-Reverte.
Next stop, next year.