João Paulo Borges Coelho

Mozambique

© M.M. Seno

 

João Paulo Borges Coelho was born in Porto in 1955, but is now a citizen of Mozambique. He studied history in Maputo and received a PhD in economic and social history from the University of Bradford. He is professor of contemporary history at the Eduardo Mondlane University, Maputo. In 2009 he won the LEYA Novel Prize.

 

 

In Campo de Trânsito ("Transit Camp"), J. Mungau is arrested at dawn in an unnamed city on any given day, in any given year, and transferred to a transit camp. There he awaits his final transferral and hopes to find out the reason for his detention. On what does his fate depend? Is it decided beforehand by a higher authority, or can his behaviour influence his luck? As he waits, he carefully observes the relationships and power mechanisms governing this small world. Eventually, a murder places the entire power structure in doubt and Mungau realises no concepts are more subjective than justice and liberty.

Borges Coelho creates a singular world full of unknowns and free from explicit violence, in which he reflects on power, its function and its victims. With subtle, poetic language, the author manages to unsettle the reader, always in search of answers.

 

 

Cidade dos Espelhos ("City of Mirrors") is a futuristic novella telling the story of the three adolescents Caia, Jeremias and Laissone, who deepen the chaos of a city already ruled by fear and destruction with a biochemical attack. When they are separated on the run, each of them has to cope with it in his own way. Will they make it, or will they fall into the hands of the authoritarian regime?

 

 

Novels:

 

As Duas Sombras do Rio, Lisbon: Caminho 2003, 264 p.

Maputo: Ndjira 2003

 

As Visitas do Dr Valdez, Lisbon: Caminho 2004, Leya 2010, 224 p.

Maputo: Ndjira 2004

 

Crónica da Rua 513.2, Lisbon: Caminho 2006, 336 p.

Maputo: Ndjira 2006

Italy: Urogallo 2011

 

Campo de Trânsito, Lisbon: Caminho 2007, 212 p.

Maputo: Ndjira 2007

Italy: Urogallo 2012

 

Hinyambaan, Lisbon: Caminho 2008, 104 p.

Maputo: Ndjira 2008

 

O Olho de Hertzog, Lisbon: Leya 2010, 448 p.

Prémio Leya 2009

Maputo: Ndjira 2010

 

Cidade dos espelhos, Lisbon: Caminho 2011, 118 p.

 

Stories:

 

Índicos Indícios I: Setentrião, Lisbon: Caminho 2005, 216 p.

Maputo: Ndjira 2005

Italy: Diabasis

 

Índicos Indícios II: Meridião, Lisbon: Caminho 2005, 180 p.

Maputo: Ndjira 2005

Italy: Diabasis

 

Maria Ernestina e as Quatro Senhoras, Porto: Ambar 2007

(In: Várias Histórias em Língua Portuguesa)