3 African authors have been longlisted for the 2023 Oceanos Prize, one of the most important literary prizes in the Portuguese language. Mozambican author Hélder Muteia and Cape Verdean writers Joaquim Arena and Mário Lúcio are among the 41 longlisted authors.
The Oceanos Prize is open to all Portuguese-speaking writers and worth a total of $60,000. It is divided between the two categories, poetry and prose. The prize was established 20 years ago by the Portuguese telephone company Portugal Telecom, but is now managed by Oceanos Foundation in partnership with the Itaú Cultural foundation, linked to the Brazilian Itaú Bank.
In the 2023 edition of the Oceanos Prize, 2,654 works competed, of which 1,188 were poetry and 1,466 were prose. The books were submitted by 487 different publishers.
The 41 longlisted writers – 21 in poetry and 20 in prose – were chosen by a jury of 159 people. Of these 41 writers, 24 were Brazilian, 14 Portuguese, two Cape Verdeans, and one Mozambican. The three African authors are part of the group of semi-finalists in the fiction category.
Cape Verdean journalist and writer Joaquim Arena was selected for “Siríaco e Mr. Charles” published by Portuguese publisher Quetzal. He has published three novels, A Beacon in the Desert, The Truth about Chindo Luz, and Where the Turtles Fly.
Cape Verdean singer and politician Mário Lúcio was longlisted for “The last moon of the big man” published by Portuguese publisher Grupo Leya. He was the Cape Verdean Minister of Culture from 2011–2016.
Mozambican writer and politician Hélder Muteia was selected for “Matoa, the batuque fever” published by Mozambican publisher Alcance. He recently won the José Craveirinha career award and works for the Mozambican agricultural sector.
The five finalists in each of the award categories – poetry and prose, including fiction and dramaturgy – will be announced at the end of October.
Congrats to the three African authors!