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Photo: Facebook (File) / Mbate Pedro
“Debaixo Do Silêncio Que Arde” (“Beneath The Burning Silence”), by Mbate Pedro, has won the BCI 2015 Prize for Literature, jury president Jorge Oliveira has announced.
“The art of his writing, which both commits to literary tradition and works with language, as well as the artist’s creativity and imagination” were decisive , Oliveira said, adding: “Debaixo Do Silêncio Que Arde” is also a book that celebrates a dreamer who has not given up over the years, and in this way it is also a tribute to those who find in poetry the best of art. Awarding this work the prize was a way of rewarding the work, the artist and genre.”
After receiving a cheque for 200,000 meticais (around US$4,200) from BCI CEO Paulo Sousa, Pedro said he was accepting the award with “undisguised wonder”, adding: “I hope that this wonder does not exceed my writing.” Then he spoke about the things that inspire him, excusing himself for his own fear of public speaking.
Pedro spoke about the current plight of the refugees in neighbouring Malawi. “Many of these people are part of the 95 percent living on less than two dollars a day. I have been attracted to and learned more from them than from those who live on a thousand dollars per day. Those who leave their homes behind suffer not one, not two, but many deaths.”
“Those who move away, fleeing the unrest in the country, are closer to the writer, are the most liquid matter of his writings, because the role of a writer is also to write about the tragedy of his people and hope for a more just world. I refuse to accept that there is more justice and peace in the books we write than in real life.”
Finally Pedro, who is also a medical doctor and a “Sundays and holidays writer”, as he put it, said he had come to the conclusion that “with the greatest respect for the BCI, the highest award that literature can give us is the existence of readers and the enrichment they give to the work of the author. I write to heal my own wounds so I decided that half the prize should go to two organizations that really have made a contribution to the promotion of reading: the literary movement Kuphaluxa in Maputo and the writers’ club CEPAN based in Niassa”.Source: Notícias
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