Pedro Rosa Mendes
© Ekko von Schwichow
Pedro Rosa Mendes, born in 1968, has worked as a journalist since he was twenty years old. He became known for his reports on Angola, Ruanda, Zaire, Afghanistan and Yugoslavia, where he was a war correspondent for the Portuguese daily newspaper Público. Mendes has received several awards for his work, among them the prestigious Prémio PEN 2011 in Portugal.
His first novel Baía dos Tigres (“Bay of Tigers”) could also be described as a large-scale report and as travel literature in the tradition of Bruce Chatwin. This is an astonishing book about the author’s journey from Angola (Luanda) to Mozambique taking three and a half months. Mendes’ world presents itself to the reader like an old-fashioned junk shop, only that the journey is arduous and not quite as romantic. It takes the reader through a crisis-ridden and war-torn country. The journey resembles a trip to the heart of darkness, to the end of humanity, as one critic put it. And herein lies the true significance of Baía dos Tigres. Pedro Rosa Mendes has succeeded in writing an unusual text, which is very subtly composed, a text which, on the basis of countless individual fates, unfurls the everyday panorama of southern Africa, while at the same time painting a vigorous portrait of man.
In September 2000 Pedro Rosa Mendes was awarded the Prize for the Best Novel by the Portuguese PEN Club and the Literature Prize of Cascais.
Bay of Tigers is a fascinating, lively and rich work of literature, and I read it with great interest. Pedro Rosa Mendes is truly an inspired author, and not only because he is capable of the most insightful observations. He has that most important quality - an extraordinarily powerful imagination.
In Peregrinação de Enmanuel Jhesus (“The Pilgrimage of Enmanuel Jhesus”), Pedro Rosa Mendes lends his voice to East Timor, its complex history and varied landscape, its colourful people and richly influenced culture. Interwoven with the protagonist Alor’s story – an architect travelling the island - historical events, political remembrances, theological debates, descriptions of martial arts and many other gems from this unique island’s treasure trove enrich the narrative and leave the reader fascinated with what he has learned in the process. True to his style and in beautiful language, Pedro Rosa Mendes renders the horrors East Timor has had to suffer in skilfully composed fragments.
Extraordinary. This is not simply a novel, it’s an occasion.
Pedro Rosa Mendes’ first genuine novel is a giant wall painting which goes through centuries of Timorean history. A masterpiece.
O julgamento do morto
Lisbon: Tinta da China, forthcoming
Peregrinação de Enmanuel Jhesus, Lisbon: Dom Quixote 2010, 346 p.
Prémio PEN 2011
Brazil: Tinta da China 2013 ● France: Métailié 2015 ● Germany: Büchergilde Gutenberg 2017 ● Serbia: Laguna
Baía dos Tigres, Lisbon: Dom Quixote 1999, 408 p.
Brazil: Sá Editora 2001 ● Denmark: Tiderne Skifter 2004 ● France: Métailié 2001, pb 2004● German: Ammann 2001 ● Italy: Einaudi 2001 ● Netherlands: Gennep 2003 ● Spain: Bronce 2001 ● Turkey: Ulug Dag 2008 ● UK: Granta 2003 ● US: Harcourt 2003
O melhor Café, Lisbon: Contexto 1996, 116 p.
Madre Cacau – Timor, Lisbon: ACEP 2004, 111 p.
(together with Alain Corbel)
Atlântico, Lisbon: Temas & Debates 2003, 214 p.
Ilhas de fogo, Lisbon: ACEP 2002, 189 p.