The writer and professor of literature Helder Macedo today receives the D. Diniz / 2018 Prize at the Casa de Mateus in Vila Real for his work “Camões and other contemporaries”.
The award has been awarded since 1980 by the Casa de Mateus Foundation, and the jury of this year’s edition was composed by the poets Nuno Júdice, Fernando Pinto do Amaral and Pedro Mexia, who unanimously awarded the prize to Helder Macedo.
According to the jury, Helder Macedo, “acknowledged poet and novelist”, offers “in this book of his essayist strand, a journey through Portuguese literature, from the Middle Ages to the present day, in which familiarity with the great authors of the past and those of the present approaching your universe, crossing creation and life. ”
“The D. Diniz Prize, given to a work that begins precisely by the innovative analysis of a cantiga of friend of the poet king, that the name of the prize celebrates, distinguishes a work that assumes the daring of its discoveries and does it with a erudition that , far from alienating the reader, fascinates him by the new horizons that open up, “says the jury.
The work, published under the seal of Editorial Presença, is divided into four parts, the first being ‘Camões and the Modernity of Tradition’, which includes, among others, essays on the author of ‘Os Lusíadas’, Sá de Miranda or even an entitled ‘Luso, son of Bacchus’.
The second, ‘History, Memory and Fiction’, includes, among others, a reflection on history and prophecy, which deals with the chronicler Fernão Lopes, the Jesuit priest António Vieira and the historian and politician Joaquim d’Oliveira Martins, as well as texts on the characters D. Quixote and Dulcineia, by Cervantes, on “fictions of identity” in Fernando Pessoa and Cesário Verde, and a text of 2012 on Cardoso Pires’ novel “The Ballad of the Beach of Dogs”.
In the third part he presents what he calls ‘Testimonies’, in which he brings together eight texts, namely Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen, Mário Cesariny and Herberto Helder, and one entitled ‘Colonial Thoughts and Writings: Parts of Africa’ , in reference to his novel ‘Parts of Africa’, published in 1991.
The fourth part is devoted to the “analytical framework of the eight centuries of Portuguese literature,” a text which, explains the author, a retired professor at King’s College in London, was commissioned by his colleagues at Oxford University for a ‘Companion to Portuguese Literature, “which is meant primarily for a university audience, which leads Helder Macedo to add:” I believe that this Portuguese version may also help to contextualize the texts “that he chose to be part of this collection.
The ceremony is attended by, among other personalities, the President of the Republic and the Minister of Culture.
Helder Macedo, who was born 82 years ago in South Africa, has authored several essays on Portuguese literature and, at the same time, has signed several titles of fiction and poetry, such as the novels’ Pedro and Paula ‘(1998) and’ So Long Love So Short Life ‘(2013), the collection’ Poemas Novos e Velhos’ (2011) and ‘Romance’ (2015).
The D. Diniz Prize distinguishes annually a work of Portuguese author in the areas of fiction, poetry or essay. Last year, the winning work was the novel ‘Astronomy’, by Mario Cláudio.