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Camões Prize laureate Paulina Chiziane calls for the ‘decolonisation’ of Portuguese

The Mozambican writer was speaking at her awards ceremony in Lisbon, deferred since 2021 because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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The Mozambican writer was speaking at her awards ceremony in Lisbon, deferred since 2021 because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

ARTICLE BY

PUBLISHED

READING TIME

Less than 1 minute Minutes

The Camões Prize laureate Paulina Chiziane has been presented with her award in Lisbon.

Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Mozambican writer had, until now, been unable to accept in person the Portuguese language’s highest literary prize, bestowed on her in 2021.

The 68-year-old author is the seventh writer from lusophone Africa – and the first woman from the continent’s Portuguese-speaking countries – to win the award since its establishment in 1988. Most winners have either been from Portugal or Brazil.

[See more: A government bid to foster creative industries is providing a windfall for the artists of Cabo Verde]

According to the Lusa news agency, the Camões Prize jury unanimously voted to give Paulina Chiziane the award two years ago, citing “her vast production and critical reception, as well as the academic and institutional recognition of her work”.

The presentation ceremony was held on 5 May, UN Portuguese Language Day. In accepting her prize, Chiziane said the Portuguese language needed “treatment, cleaning and decolonisation”.

Almost 8 in every 10 of the world’s 260 million speakers of Portuguese are to be found in Brazil. The 2022 Camões Prize winner is the Brazilian author Silviano Santiago.

 

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