“What I am reflecting on is that I have to forgive people, events, time, the world, the country and probably also myself in order to be able to write. Your Clarice Lispector was trying this, I assume, and somehow apparently she managed. Or maybe I should say this: I am writing in order to forgive.”
— Ece Temelkuran (Turkey), Letter to Annelies Beck, 15 August 2016
On 17 December 1987, the great novelist, short-story writer, poetess, translator, essayist and critic Marguerite Yourcenar died on Mount Desert Island (Maine, USA). She was born in 1903 in Brussels as Marguerite Cleenewerck de Crayencour. She was the first woman to be elected to the Académie française.
Thirty years after her death, the international house of literature Passa Porta is awarding her its sixth Noble Prize, an honour that has fallen in the past to Kafka, Borges, Claus, Boon and Pasolini. The Noble Prize is of course a tribute to all those great authors who never received a Nobel Prize.
In the tradition of these great readers’ homages, Passa Porta invites both known and unknown Yourcenar readers and admirers to come and read out their favourite fragment from her oeuvre, each in their own language. Readers thus have the chance to pay a personal tribute to Yourcenar and to give the public an overview of the richness, topicality and thematic diversity of her oeuvre. The event is also an occasion to at last (re)read masterpieces such as The Abyss, Memoirs of Hadrian, Oriental Tales, Dreams and Destinies, A Coin in Nine Hands, How Many Years: A Memoir and Quoi? L’éternité.
The homage with the presentation of the Noble Prize will take place on Sunday 26 November from 15:00 until 18:00 and from 19:00 until 21:00 in Passa Porta (rue Antoine Dansaertstraat 46, 1000 Brussels). The event will be livestreamed in its entirety.
From 15:00 until 18:00, readings by Alexandre Piraux, Vantura Mancilla, Virginie Platteau, Hannah Roels, Johan Gezels, Isabelle Draux, Camille Pier (Nestor) (actor), André Bruyneel (Prof. em. ULB), Jean-Pierre Jacobs, Stéphanie Van Vyve (actress), Michèle Divoy, Micheline Rabinovitsj, Françoise Thierry, Frédéric Gisaro, Yuruan Garcia Rangel, Stéphane Bissot (actress), Patrick Lateur (literary translator) et Jean Jauniaux (PEN Belgique). During this first part of the event, the bookshop remains open and entrance is free.
Pause from 18:00 until 19:00.
From 19:00 until 20:30, readings and talks by Michèle Goslar (biographer of Yourcenar and founder of the Centre International de Documentation Marguerite Yourcenar), Filip Rogiers (author & journalist), Véronique Bergen (author and philosopher), Luc Devoldere (author & editor in chief of the magazines Septentrion / Ons Erfdeel) and Leen Huet (author and art historian). Actors Luc Vandermaelen, Carine Bamps, Mélina Van Hoof, Thibault Sforza and Rémi Fransot will present a fragement of their new play L'Etre que j'appelle moi, about the life and work of Yourcenar.
At the end of the night, author and philosopher Véronique Bergen will hand over the 2017 Passa Porta Noble Prize to Stéphanie Crayencour, the representative of Marguerite Yourcenar's family.