Snippet: Nonino prize to António Lobo Antunes

On January 25, the Portuguese author António Lobo Antunes received the Premio Internazionale Nonino [a grappa maker] in Udine (Italy). According to the Wikipedia article, there is a wide range of Lobo Antunes’ more than 50 novels available in English.

Source: Diário de Notícias


BCNegra 2014: 01/30 – 02/08 crime novel week

Time again for the “Black Barcelona” week. This year’s star is Andrea Camilleri who will be awarded with the Pepe Carvalho prize. The program is in Catalan and Spanish, but as there are international authors coming, one will also hear some English. [Please look for older posts to read about this event’s background.]

Official website (+ program):

Fictionalized biography of Calouste Gulbenkian

A visitor to Lisbon will meet with the name of this philanthropist of Armenian origin all the time: Calouste Gulbenkian (1869-1955; Wikipedia). The foundation that bears his name is preparing an official biography edited by Jonathan Conlin and to be published for Gulbenkian’s 150th anniversary. Last fall, José Rodrigues dos Santos, a best-selling author and TV anchor (homepage, Wikipedia), presented his fictional biography in two volumes, for which he claims to have visited the places where Gulbenkian lived, but for which he did not consult the sources available at the foundation, according to a spokesperson there.

The first volume is called O Homem de Constantinopla [The Man from Constantinople; review excerpts from the author’s homepage], the second Um Milionário em Lisboa [A Millionaire in Lisbon].

Two of Rodrigues dos Santos’ previous novels are available in English, The Einstein Enigma and Codex 632: The Secret of Christopher Columbus. Judging from his sales, he knows how to entertain a broad public with thick books.

As to other non-fictional biographers, already in 1957 Ralph Hewins presented Mr. Five Per Cent, for which he consulted some sources and talked to family members.

Source: Publico

Two female “others” in one week

The Catalan “l’altra” means “the other [female]”. This week, two of these “others” have made the news.

The first one is a new publishing house called L’Altra (owl=logo), started by the veteran publisher Eugènia Broggi who left Empúries (Grup 62) for this project. The idea is to publish twelve to fifteen carefully prepared titles in Catalan every year, with initial print runs of 1,500 to 1,800 copies, and the possibility of further editions. The first titles to be published on February 12 will be Toni Sala’s Els nois [The boys/guys] and James Salter’s Last Night. The forecast for March is Daniel Galera’s Barba xopa de sang [Blood soaked beard], and for May, Lionel Shriver’s Big Brother. The publishing house also awards the Premi Documenta that recognizes young creators aged 35 or below.

(Website under construction, Twitter account here]

Source: La Vanguardia

The second “other” is the second novel by Marta Rojals (La Palma d’Ebre, 1975) called L’altra. The story is about Anna, a graphic designer in her thirties who lives with a guy called Nel in Barcelona, where she rides around on a bicycle and where her life changes after she accepts a job. Among the topics that appear in the novel are relationships, the passing of time, life changes, maternity – with a special attention to the way people talk in Barcelona. Sex and death are also present in the work, and the promise is of more than one surprise. In contrast to her first novel, Primavera, estiu, etc. [Spring, summer, etc.], this time the end is said to be clear and not open to speculations.


This blogger has been impressed by Rojals’ first novel and is looking forward to reading the second.




A note on exports of Portuguese literature

Though this blog purports to comment on Iberian literature, the western-most part of the peninsula, i.e. Portugal, has been strikingly underrepresented so far.  We aim to change this, starting with a note on literature exports:

More than 180 Portuguese works were supported for publication abroad during 2013 in the context of the “aid to internationalization” programs by the government’s Direção-Geral do Livro, Arquivos e Bibliotecas (Department of Books, Archives and Libraries, DGLAB). These programs are intended, for example, to support the edition of Portuguese literature in Brazil, and to encourage foreign publishers to translate and publish Portuguese works, especially children’s and juvenile literature and comics.  According to data from DGLAB in 2013 those programs covered 185 works in Portuguese, e.g. O murmúrio do mundo (The murmur of the world) by Almeida Faria, his first work to be published in Brazil by the publisher Tinta da China Brasil, and Os passos em volta (The steps around) by Herberto Hélder, translated into French for the publisher Chandeigne.

[Source: the free daily Destak, 13 January 2014]

Almeida Faria (Montemor-o-Novo, 1943) is a Portuguese author not translated into English yet, except for a contribution to the collective work The European Fall (Kindle ed.) and other journalistic work. According to the Wikipedia article dedicated to him, he spent the academic year 1968-69 as a resident writer of the International Writing Program at Iowa City.

Herberto Hélder de Oliveira (Funchal, Madeira, 1930) is a Portuguese poet and writer (Wikipedia article in English).  His novel now translated into French was originally published in 1963; he has not been translated into English either.