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José Eduardo Agualusa was born in Huambo, Angola, in 1960. After studying journalism in Lisbon, first of all he returned to Angola in 1989, but at the end of the nineties he left the country once again due to the difficult political conditions, moving to Rio de Janeiro.

To date, Agualusa has published four novels, a collection of short stories and a volume of poetry. In addition, he works as a freelance journalist for radio and newspapers. Agualusa does not see the Portuguese in which he writes as the language of the former colonialists, but as "an African language that has adopted the concepts, expressions, rhythms and feelings of the Angolan people".

The central theme of his debut "A Conjura" (1989; The Conspiracy), which is set in Sao Paulo de Luanda in the years 1880 to 1911, is the mixture of cultures in modern Angolan society. Agualusa draws the portrait of a society shaped by opposites; one in which only those who adapt can hope for success, that is, those who are open towards the other race and culture. For Agualusa, the focal point of this development is the Creole minority to which he belongs, whose growing self-confidence he describes in his second novel, "A Feiro dos Assombrados" (1992; The Market of the Damned), as the roots of an Angolan "Proto-Nationalism".

Together with Fernando Semedo and the photographer Elza Rocha, in 1993 Agualusa published the volume "Lisboa Africana" (African Lisbon), which documents the diverse cultural impulses that Portuguese society has experienced as a result of the African group within the population. In his novel "Estaçao das chuvas" (1996; The Rained-Out Season) Agualusa has a first person narrator – with autobiographical traits – tell the fictive life story of the Angolan woman poet and historian Lidia do Carmo Ferreira. It is a sober social chronicle, composed of fact and fiction, which brings the terrible consequences of 30 years war and civil war to the reader’s attention in a quite oppressive way.

Agualusa borrowed the protagonist of his most complex novel – in terms of both content and form – "Naçao Crioula" (1997; A Stone below Water) from an epistolary novel by the Portuguese author Eça de Queiroz (1845–1900). He expands the original in a clever literary game, adding the colony Angola’s perspective on Europe, and also on Brazil, as it was colonised from Angola.
His novels, stories, poems and reporting make Agualusa - alongside Pepetela and Mia Couto – into one of the most important contemporary African authors of literature in Portuguese.

Publications in German Translation
Ein Stein Unter Wasser. Translated from the Portuguese by Inés Koebel. dtv, München 1999
Publications in English Translation
Features in "Trafika: An International Literary Review". No. 4: Winter. Trafika 1994
Creole. Arcadia Books 2002
Events by DAAD


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