17 January 2024
“Here comes Allauch!” This first sentence, present in all the short stories, sets the scene. The mountains of Provence and Marcel Pagnol‘s novels and films. In this town overlooking Marseille, the first edition of the Marcel Pagnol short story contest rewarded its winners on Saturday, January 15.
And what a competition! The organization was hoping for about a hundred participants; 254 apprentice short story writers took up their pens to bring back to life the hills of Souvenirs d’enfance. Among these writings received from France and abroad, the jury, which included Nicolas Pagnol, the writer’s grandson, and author Daniel Picouly, selected five finalists.
The first prize in the Adult category was awarded to retiree Bernadette Pepineau for her story Le Revenant d’Allauch. Emma Derrien, a 17 year old student, received the Coup de Cœur Jeunes award for her short story Crépuscule ou le jour où j’ai rencontré une fille à la recherche du démon.
A tribute to the local child
Here is Allauch!” said the doctor, “we may be saved. Walk in good order and smile. They are waiting for us. Don’t talk to them. It is useless. Nobody would believe you. Let me tell them. I can. ” It is from this incipit prepared by Daniel Picouly, Renaudot prize in 1999, that the participants launched into the writing of their novel. Three lines that set the city of Allauch as the final destination of a long journey.
Emma Derrien, a student at the Monte Cristo high school in Allauch, was able to paint the environment that surrounds her through a story praised for its “quality and poetry”. Although she has never set foot in the town, Bernadette Pepineau describes the return to the country of a group of men who left to seek a better fortune.
Launched in October by the city of Allauch and the Association of Friends of the Marcel-Pagnol Museum, this contest is part of a tribute to the local child. A new museum dedicated to the author is scheduled to open in 2024.
The winning short stories can be found on the contest website.