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Brazil’s Chico Buarque, who is best known as a singer-songwriter, is the winner of the 2019 Camões Prize for literature in Portuguese, after a meeting of the jury at Brazil’s National Library, in Rio de Janeiro.
The prize, instituted by Portugal and Brazil in 1988, aims to distinguish an author “whose work contributes to the projection and recognition of the literary and cultural heritage of the common language.”
The prize was first awarded in 1989 to Portuguese writer Miguel Torga.
Mozambican writers José Craveirinha and Mia Couto both won the Camões Prize, in 1991 and in 2013 , respectively.
The jury of 2019 was composed by Clara Rowland and Manuel Frias Martins of Portugal, Ana Paula Tavares of Angola, Antonio Cicero Correia Lima and Antônio Carlos Hohlfeldt of Brazil, and Nataniel Ngomane of Mozambique.
Last year the award went to Cabo Verde writer Germano Almeida, author of ‘Fantastic Island’, ‘The Two Brothers’ and ‘The Last Will and Testament of Senhor da Silva Araújo’, among other works.
In comments after the announcement, which was made late on Tuesday, Almeida highlighted the literary quality of Buarque’s songs.
“Chico Buarque is a musician, but a very particular one,” he said. “His music has a message, it has poetry. He is no ordinary singer.”
Portugal’s minister of culture, Graça Fonseca, reacted to the announcement by posting congratulations on Twitter.
— Cabrito (@valeriocabrito) May 22, 2019
Pode ser rock in “rol” https://t.co/hUQUf5y7be
— Rodrigo Lins (@rodlinsjp) May 21, 2019
Chico Buarque – Eu Te Amo (Carioca Ao Vivo) [CC] https://t.co/uH1q3yvdbq
— Antonio Molina S Jr (@AntonioMolinaSJ) May 22, 2019
— Emanuel C Pinto (@Paramatmaandme) May 22, 2019