Afonso Reis Cabral is the winner of this year’s Saramago Prize.
Writer Afonso Reis Cabral, 29, is the winner of the José Saramago Prize, worth 25,000 euros, for his novel ‘Sugar Loaf’, was announced today.
The prize, promoted by the Circle of Readers Foundation, has been awarded biennially since 1999, distinguishing a literary work in the field of fiction in Portuguese by a writer no older than 35 years.
‘Sugar Loaf’ was edited last year, and deals with a true case that happened in Porto, the murder of transsexual Gisberta, in 2006, after successive acts of violence and following an attack by young people between the ages of 12 and the 16 years, in the custody of the catholic institution Oficina de São José.
The jury of the José Saramago Prize was chaired by the publisher Guilhermina Gomes and were also included the Angolan poet Ana Paula Tavares, the Portuguese author António Mega Ferreira, the Brazilian writer Nélida Piñon and the president of the Saramago Foundation, Pilar del Rio.
In Ana Paula Tavares’ opinion, Afonso Reis Cabral’s novel, “dealing with the thick and confusing world of memory [and narrated in the first person] removes from oblivion events that newspapers and police reports had treated in a reductive and partial way. , with silences and omissions that the author intends to reveal here “.
Afonso Reis Cabral, continues the Angolan poet, “presents a work of language (with language) that alerts the reader to what changes and remains in the writing of the novel and the narrative of the recovered universes.”
“The author – emphasizes – plunges into the opacity of the different worlds of the city veiled by silence and strangeness, and works new concepts of life, death and love, as the laws of violence widen and make them visible.”
Mega Ferreira, in turn, states that Afonso Reis Cabral “builds a tense narrative, under whose narrative line crackles the violence of the excluded and the anger of the disinherited. Revealing remarkable narrative and stylistic maturity, making containment the weapon of the progression of the story, Reis Cabral adopts the kids’ point of view by managing the construction of a group feeling of fear and hatred (the boundaries between one and the other are blurred) that unloads at its weakest link the anger of a long contained frustration. ”
António Mega Ferreira points out that “the originality of the narrative lies precisely in this point of view, which makes ‘Pão de Açúcar’ a kind of novel of (de) formation, a text that relates the formation of a group that meets in a murder, in the passage from childhood to adolescence “.
“The ambivalence of their feelings towards Gisberta shows that there are no linear paths to crime, no sociological fatalities, in a case that is more fictionally complex than the journalistic account usually reveals,” continues Mega Ferreira.
“Compassionate but never sentimental romance, ‘Pão de Açúcar’ is an exemplary parsimony in terms of language through imagery, especially in view of the moving drama of the human involvement of its story,” says Manuel Frias Martins, stressing that it is ” a great novel by a young author whose Portuguese literature is to be proud of now “.
Afonso Reis Cabral won, in 2014, the LeYa Prize for the novel “My Brother”. In 2017, he was awarded the Europa David Mourão-Ferreira Prize in the Promise category and in 2018 the Novos Prize in the Literature category.
“Sugar Loaf”, published late last year, is his second novel.
His most recent book, ‘Take me with you’, is the account of his walk from Vila Real to Faro, which was completed between April and May this year, totaling 738.5 kilometers along National Road number 02.