Gringa Reads

New 'Oceanos' Prize

Awards, NewsZoe Perry1 Comment

It was touch and go for awhile, but we can all breathe a sigh of relief now that the Prêmio Portugal Telecom will continue to honor exceptional works of Portuguese-language literature under the new name Oceanos. Portugal Telecom, the telecommunications company that previously sponsored the prize by the same name, was sold to a Luxembourg-based company earlier this year. After the usual dates for submissions came and went, with no open calls or updates to the website, many wondered whether it had been quietly laid to rest. This Tuesday marked the official announcement that the new incarnation, now sponsored by Itaú Cultural, the cultural institution of Itaú Bank, would rise from PT's ashes.

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Along with the new name come a few changes to the rules. Taking a more inclusive approach to genre, there will no longer be separate categories for novels, poetry and short stories/crónicas. Before, one winner in each category took home R$50,000 in prize money, and of these top three, the "best book" earned an additional R$50k. Now there will be prize money for the top four entries, all genres piled in together. First prize takes away R$100,000, with R$60k, R$40k and R$30k for second, third and fourth prize.

At the helm will be Selma Caetano (curator of the PT prize for the past 13 years), Noemi Jaffe (award-winning author and critic) and Rodrigo Lacerda (award-winning author, editor and translator of works by Faulkner and Carver, among others) as the three curators of the award. The initial jury of between 100 and 150 members, will be made up of critics, professors, journalists and researchers. After they choose 40 semifinalists, a second jury selects the 12 finalists. The awards ceremony will be in December, in São Paulo.

Below is a list of all the winners of the Portugal Telecom, with those translated to English in italics. Publishers in the US and UK, that means there are eight awesome books right there you should be considering.

  • 2003 - Nove Noites - Bernardo Carvalho (Nine Nights, Vintage, tr. Benjamin Moser) & Pico Na Veia - Dalton Trevisan 2004 - Macau - Paulo Henriques Britto
  • 2005 - Os Lados do Círculo - Amilcar Bettega Barbosa
  • 2006 - Cinzas do Norte - Milton Hatoum (Ashes of the Amazon, Bloomsbury, tr. John Gledson)
  • 2007 - Jerusalém - Gonçalo Tavares
  • 2008 - O Filho Eterno - Cristovão Tezza (Eternal Son, Scribe/Tagus, tr. Alison Entrekin) This one was shortlisted for Int'l IMPAC Dublin Literary Award 2012!
  • 2009 - Ó - Nuno Ramos
  • 2010 - Leite Derramado - Chico Buarque (Spilt Milk, Atlantic, tr.Alison Entrekin)
  • 2011 - Passageiro do Fim do Dia - Rubens Figueiredo
  • 2012 - A Máquina de Fazer Espanhóis - Valter Hugo Mãe
  • 2013 - O Sonâmbulo Amador - José Luiz Passos 2014 - O Drible - Sérgio Rodrigues

So, yeah, that's also a lot of men. I would LOVE to see the first-ever Oceanos prize go to a woman author.