Tribute to Marguerite Yourcenar

26/11/2017 - 26/11/2017

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 14:00 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.


Are you a Marguerite Yourcenar fan and would you like to take part? Choose your favourite fragment (2 to 3 pages) from her work in relation to one of these five themes:

- History / histories

- Cosmopolitanism

- Ecology

- Gender and sexuality

- Power and vanity

Send an email to before 31 October mentioning your name, the language you wish to read in, the title of your favourite text (and indicate the specific fragment), a word of explanation about your choice, and ‘Yourcenar’ in the subject line.

The complete French bibliography of Yourcenar’s oeuvre is available here:

Many of her works are available in English translation.

ORG: Passa Porta

Practical information