Presenting himself as a “bulwark against the gloomy atmosphere of the time”the brand new prize was awarded on Wednesday in the salons of the famous hotel on rue de Rivoli to Louis-Henri de La Rochefoucauld for his novel, Sand castle published by Robert Laffont.
There were a lot of people last night in the salons of the Hôtel Meurice for the first edition of the Prix du Meurice, a brand new literary prize which has just added its name to some 2,000 existing prizes. To distinguish herself from the others, Franka Holtmann, general manager of the hotel and honorary president of the prize, wanted this prize “stands out for its extravagance”. But also by “the fantasy, the oddity, the non-conformism of authors of novels, essays, collections of short stories or poetry, biographies or autobiographies, art or history books”. In other words, all the current production!
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To accompany Mrs Holtmann, eight men and five women including a certain number of journalists attached to the Figaro : Frédéric Beigbeder, Anne-Sophie von Claer, Éric Neuhoff, Jean-René Van der Plaetsen, Stéphane Reynaud. And Isabelle Spaak whose articles we read in the literary and lifestyle sections. Patrick Besson, Alain Bonnand, Adélaïde de Clermont-Tonnerre, Carole Chrétiennot, Pauline Dreyfus, Marc Lambron, Gilles Martin-Chauffier complete this great team.
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Which had selected four books for its first edition: The courage to live by Albina du Boisrouvray (Flammarion), The Children of the Night by Eva Ionesco (Grasset), wizard picasso by Diana Widmaier-Picasso and Philippe Charlier (Gallimard) and Sand castle by Louis-Henri de La Rochefoucauld (Robert Laffont). It is therefore the latter, already winner of the Deux Magots prize in January, who has been designated. He wins a check for 3000 euros as well as three nights at Le Meurice.
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In her speech, President Franka Holtmann recalled that part of the jury had already made the event on December 31, 1989 for a night of the hussars as literary as it is boozy. Eric Neuhoff, Patrick Besson, Alain Bonnand and Jean-René Van der Plaetsen still remember it. Especially since a remake took place in the same place for the thirty years of the event, immortalized in words and images in the Figaro Magazine. Franka Holtmann also referred to 1968, the year that saw the young Patrick Modiano crowned at the Meurice by the Roger-Nimier Prize jury. A story nicely written down by Pauline Dreyfus a few years ago.
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The president of the jury, Marc Lambron, shone as always with his facetious spirit, specifying that for the three nights offered, the winner was not obliged to spend them. “with the same person”. The academician also welcomed the idea of a prize awarded in the Pompadour salon to a novel “which is part of the legend of Le Meurice”. A legend has specified the winner, which includes famous figures like Salvador Dali and King Alphonse XIII who occupied the same suite at Le Meurice. He apologized for having imagined his reincarnation as Louis XVI on the Île Saint-Louis when it would have been so simple to lodge him at the Meurice!
The jury wished to be renewed in its entirety, the position of president being intended to change each year.
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Louis-Henri de La Rochefoucauld, winner of the first Prix du Meurice
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