Mariette Navarro
Mariette Navarro © Philippe Malone

Mariette Navarro

I imagine writing as a series of sidesteps from reality, which can open small doors in our thoughts and give us courage.

Mariette Navarro is a playwright and dramatist and has published Ultramarins, a first novel that has become a major bestseller. 

Updated on 18/02/2022

5 min

After studying literature, Mariette Navarro, originally from Lyon, trained as a dramatist at the Théâtre National de Strasbourg. This is a profession that is not always well known to the general public and which consists of accompanying the creation of a production by providing research, offering an outside perspective and often participating in its writing. This experience in Strasbourg, under the direction of Stéphane Braunschweig, gave rise to Alors Carcasse (2011). A first text about an abstract being who cannot cross a threshold and integrate into the rhythm of the world.

Theatrical texts have been published regularly since then, and she has worked as a dramatist with contemporary theatrical figures such as Caroline Guiela Nguyen, Mathieu Roy and Edward Albee. But writing soon began to take over, and she is the author of several theatrical creations: Prodiges®, Zone à étendre, Les Hérétiques, etc. Ultramarins, finally published in 2021, is her first novel. 

Mariette Navarro discovered theatre in secondary school, and quickly developed a passion for literature. However, her interest in giving voice to texts drew her to the world of theatre: reading committees (notably that of the Théâtre de la Colline), editor (Grands Fonds collection of the Cheyne publishing house), and residencies in numerous theatres (CDN du Nord, Scènes du Jura, Théâtre de l'Aquarium). 

Although her work touches on writing at all levels, she admits that she often needs the retreat that the residency format allows to really devote herself to writing. Her first novel, Ultramarins, was the result of a residency on a cargo ship during an Atlantic crossing. It remained in gestation for almost ten years before becoming a bestseller, thanks to word of mouth. 

Ultramarins, Mariette Navarro's first novel, tells the story of a cargo ship's captain who, against all odds, grants an unusual request from her crew: a swim in the middle of the ocean. An event that will profoundly alter the balance on board, because when they return to the ship, things are not as before.

To accompany this poetic but very accessible first novel, the publisher Quidam decided to go all out, publishing no other title for the new literary season. Booksellers responded and Ultramarins went on to win numerous awards: Prix des lecteurs Hors Concours 2021, Prix Frontières - Léonora Miano, Prix Libraires en Seine, Prix Gens de Mer, among several dozen shortlists. This short début novel, which flirts with the fantastic without ever falling into it, offers a very fine psychological portrait of a woman in an entirely male world, which has won admiration from many readers. 

  • 1980


    Born in Lyon.

  • 2007


    Graduated as a dramatist from the Théâtre National de Strasbourg.

  • 2011


    Alors Carcasse, her first play.

  • 2018


    Zone à étendre, a text on the theme of secularism.

  • 2021


    Her first novel Ultramarins is published by Quidam and becomes a best-seller.

  • 2021


    Prix des lecteurs Hors Concours 2021 for Ultramarins.

The Institut français and the writer

For the novel Ultramarins, Mariette Navarro received the Prix des lecteurs Hors Concours 2021. As a partner of the prix Hors Concours, the Institut français proposes the works selected for the prize to the French cultural network abroad on Culturethèque

L'institut français, LAB