Gringa Reads

Literary Awards for Portuguese Language Lovers: Prêmio Portugal Telecom de Literatura

Awards, NewsZoe Perry5 Comments

The Prêmio Portugal Telecom de Literatura (Portugal Telecom Prize for Literature) was established in 2003 by Portuguese phone company, Portugal Telecom, and since 2007 it is awarded annually to works of literature from any Portuguese-speaking country. Contrary to what the name may suggest, initially only Brazilian literature was eligible, and the original title of the prize was Prêmio Portugal Telecom de Literatura Brasileira (Portugal Telecom Prize for Brazilian Literature). It's a relatively new kid on the block, but has rapidly become one of the most important literary awards in Brazil, right on par with the Jabuti. Some have even referred to it as the Portuguese-language version of the Booker Prize. There are three categories: novel, poetry and crônicas and short stories. Winners are named for each category, as well as an overall winner from any category. Winners also take home impressive prize money, R$50,000, or over US$20,000.

Last night's winner for 2013 was José Luiz Passos, from the northeastern state of Pernambuco, for his second novel, O Sonâmbulo Amador (The Amateur Sleepwalker), published by Alfaguara. He had some healthy competition, running against Prêmio São Paulo winner Daniel Galera for Barba Ensopada de Sangue (Blood-Drenched Beard), soon to be published in English translation, and Portuguese writer Valter Hugo Mãe, who won the Portugal Telecom prize last year. Cíntia Moscovich won in the short story/crônicas category and Eucanaã Ferraz took top honors for poetry.

Remember Dalton Trevisan, winner of the Prêmio Camões in 2012 and four-time Jabuti winner? He tied for first in 2003 (with Bernardo Carvalho), then placed second in both 2007 and 2012, making him quite possibly Brazil's most-awarded contemporary writer to be totally ignored by English-language publishers. Except for a flurry of work in the seventies, he's barely been touched by translators, in any language. Come on now, publishers.

Finally, I happen to think they have one of the coolest award statues around.