Álvaro Siza, António Valdemar, Carlos do Carmo, Eduardo Lourenço, José-Augusto França, and Rui Mendes were honored today with the awarding of the title of Honorary Member of the Portuguese Writers Association, in a meeting room environment, in a restaurant in Lisbon.
At the beginning of the ceremony, José Manuel Mendes, president of the Portuguese Association of Writers (APE), pointed out that these six personalities – an architect, a journalist, a singer, an essayist, a historian, and an actor – were chosen in Shareholders’ Meeting by a unanimous vote of the shareholders.
“They were chosen by what we know to be public life, the singular and striking work of each of them and their proximity to us, united by art,” he added.
This distinction is part of the EPA’s policy of “taking cultural intervention in a variety of domains, not confined to any narrow view of literature.”
“The APE is a place where literature is not separate from other areas of culture,” explained José Manuel Mendes, highlighting the importance of Eduardo Lourenço.
“He would not like to be considered a universal unanimity” but he was a “unique figure in the Portuguese panorama, not only the philosopher but the one who thought Portugal, in public, political, literary life, [in] history and [in] anthropology”, he said, followed by a loud ovation for those present.
The words were received by the essayist’s sister, absent from the ceremony for health reasons, such as the historian José-Augusto França, who had a friend on his behalf.
The place chosen for the tribute ceremony was the “As Velhas” restaurant in Lisbon, where around 30 people met, among honorees, friends and guests, and where, in a meeting environment, ideas were exchanged, memories shared and heard solo solo suites by Johann Sebastian Bach, by cellist Ricardo Mota.
Despite being distinguished in different cultural areas, all honorees are “united by the word, the word touched by art,” said the president of the APE.
“In the words we find ourselves all: in the unmistakable voice of Carlos do Carmo, in the work of fiction and historian of José-Augusto França, in the written word of António Valdemar, who does not like to be said to be a writer, but a journalist, Rui Mendes, the one who gave the words he could interpret and interpreted. ”
Eduardo Lourenço read Portugal and “marked us all” with this reading, while Álvaro Siza Vieira is the author of a work of “a precision, a rigor, which is very close to the literary elaboration of the writer,” he added.
Taking the cue, the architect emphasized this relationship with literature: “I see rigor, perfection, exigency.”
“What strikes me most and stimulates [the literature] is this rigor, while what happens in architecture is the result of great work. In poetry, this rigor is even greater: every word must be in the right place at the right time and between them, there has to be a rhythm, “said Siza Vieira.
According to the Secretary-General of the APE, Luís Machado, the ceremony honoring those “six biggest names of Portuguese culture” was a “memorable moment, a sublime moment of high elevation.”
“And it was not by chance the choice of space [restaurant ‘As old’], a reference of the historical-cultural heritage of Lisbon, which was last May, 95 years of existence, classified as Store with History.
Luís Machado used the moment to tell precisely a little of the history of that table-top restaurant, founded by two sexagenarians, who baptized him as “The Old Women”, and heir to Carvoaria da Glória.
In this return to the past, the secretary general of the APE recalled some ephemeris that marked the year of the foundation of the restaurant, such as Alves dos Reis prison, accused of falsifying 500 escudos bills, the inauguration of the Tivoli Theater-Theater, recitals Guilhermina Suggia, the birth of Carlos Paredes, the end of the publication of the magazine Athena, directed by Fernando Pessoa, and the presence of Manoel de Oliveira in the clubs Bristol and Maxim’s.
The meeting ended with a toast and the delivery of the cards and diplomas that officiated the title of honorary members to the six honorees.