João Melo’s poetry collection Diário do Medo won Premio de Literatura DST Angola/ Camões 2023 on November 6, 2023.
The DST Angola/Camões Literature Prize is a joint initiative between dstgroup and Camões – Instituto da Cooperação e da Língua celebrating books published in poetry and prose by Angolan artists. DST Angola is a subsidiary of the Portuguese group DST, headquartered in the city of Braga, and whose main activity is engineering and construction. Camões – Instituto da Cooperação e da Língua runs Premio Camões the biggest literary prize in Portugal. In 2018, DST Angola created an identical award in Angola, with the support of the Instituto Cultural Camões. Some of the previous winners of the award worth €15,000 have been Pepetela, Zetho Cunha Gonçalves, and Benjamim M’Bakassy.
The jury for 2023 is chaired by José Mena Abrantes and composed of David Capelenguela and Amélia Dalomba. They announced this year’s winner to be João Melo for his 2021 collection Diário do Medo published in Brazil and Galicia by the independent Brazilian publisher Urutau.
Diário do Medo unanimously won over the jury for recognizing in this work “a powerful creative process, in which it is evident in an evident way how reality can work as a matter of literary creation, respecting aesthetic, technical and ethical values”. Jury chair Abrantes added that “in addition, the work denotes profound life experience, uses with rigor and simplicity the right word/metaphor and the rhythm appropriate to the content of each poem and has a comprehensive view of the self and its circumstances, with critical attention to phenomena contemporaries.”
João Melo is an author, journalist, and communication consultant. He is a founder of the Angolan Writer´s Association and of the Angolan Academy of Literature and Social Sciences. Currently, splitting his time between Luanda, Lisbon, and Washington, D.C. His works include poetry, short stories, novels, articles, and essays and have been published in Angola, Brazil, Cuba, Italy, Portugal, Spain, UK, and USA. A number of his writings translated into English, French, German, Arabic, and Chinese have also appeared in anthologies, as well as in various international journals and magazines. He was awarded the 2009 Angola Arts and Culture National Prize in the literature category.
There are options for those who wish to read this book in languages you can speak or read. Some poems from the book have already been translated into English and published in the magazines Gávea-Brown (USA) and Márokó (Nigeria), while another one will be included in the next anthology by the Jalada collective. Likewise, some of the texts translated into French appeared in the magazine À L´Index (France).
The book will be published in the coming weeks in Spain, in a bilingual Portuguese-Spanish edition, by the publisher Libros Del Aire, with translation by the Colombian poet and translator Lauren Mendinueta. The book has not yet been released in Angola but should be released later this year. At the beginning of next year, it will be published in Portugal. It is also being translated into English, Arabic, and French, with a view to its publication in those languages.