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Address delivered by the President of the Republic at the award Ceremony of the Fernando Namora and Agustina Bessa Luís Literary Prizes
Estoril, 28 July 2010

Mayor of Cascais,
Chairman of the Estoril-Sol Company,
Dr. Vasco Graça Moura,
Worthy prize winners, Raquel Ochoa and Mário de Carvalho,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am indeed very pleased to be here today to award, not one, but two literary prizes: the Fernando Namora Prize attributed to author Mário de Carvalho; and the Agustina Bessa-Luís Revelation Prize attributed to young author Raquel Ochoa.

The Fernando Namora Prize, attributed to the book “A Sala Magenta” (“The Magenta Room”), distinguishes Mário de Carvalho for the second time, since he had already been awarded this prize in 1996, with the novel “Um Deus passeando pela brisa da tarde” (“A God walking through the afternoon breeze”)..

Mário de Carvalho has accustomed his readers to a very particular type of work, between tragedy and sarcasm. In this one, however, humour gives way to a stressful balance nearer to bleakness.

The author suggests that the reader takes a journey through the affections, frustrations, lost dreams, illusions, advances and retreats, certainties and doubts of the characters of this story, which is not so much tragic but ultimately sad. Mário de Carvalho once again reveals the unique style of his writing and the singularity of his work, which has so justly been recognized and prized.

The Patron of this Prize is another great writer, novelist Fernando Namora, author of a vast work of fiction that continues to captivate readers, and to whom I would also like to pay my tribute here.

The Agustina Bessa-Luis Revelation Prize was attributed to young writer Raquel Ochoa, for her first work “A Casa-Comboio” (“The House-Train”). The award of such a prize is in itself an extraordinary stimulus to young writers and is, without any doubt, a sign of the vitality and of the beat of Portuguese literary production. It is exactly this vitality that is the tribute we can pay to the great writer Agustina Bessa-Luís, who gives her name to this prize and who was, for many years, the President of the Jury of the Fernando Namora Prize.

And if it is vitality we are referring to, the writings of Raquel Ochoa are good instances. Through the pages of her book, the reader travels through an India where the Portuguese language is also spoken. In the adventures and misadventures of the four generations of the Carcomo family, the reader will recognize relevant moments that are a part of Portuguese History. And the readers will be faced with facts that although not a surprise to many will, possibly for the majority, unveil memories linked to a period of our History which may have not received due regard.

Based upon careful research work, Raquel Ochoa was able to cross such historic data with the lives of a Portuguese family living in Portuguese India, a place which is so fascinating for those who have already had the opportunity to visit that territory.

To revisit Portuguese India through Raquel Ochoa, is a reencounter with our history, a history of travel, a history of diasporas and, in the case of this family, a history that terminates in a Fatherland that was theirs but was so far off. As I have had the opportunity to state in other occasions, “the memory of what we were as a people is the best pillar on which we can project and build the future”. A future made of sharing, affections and acceptance.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Celebrating culture in any of its diverse angles is a grandiose mission for those who propose calling unto themselves the best that is produced in Portugal and in the World, in Art, Literature, Music and Performance.
I thus congratulate the Estoril Sol Company for its relevant activity in the promotion and disclosure of artistic, musical and literary activities, of which these two Prizes are an example and I sincerely hope that it continues its drive in associating its entrepreneurial dimension to this relevant achievement in the area of culture, proving how much citizens and companies may perform in this field.

I end by renewing my congratulations to Mário de Carvalho and Raquel Ochoa, and with a word of recognition to all writers and their art, that continues to be a motive of delight for so many readers and of prestige for our Country.


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