Paulina Chiziane is the winner of the Camões literary Prize 2021. The choice of the Mozambican writer was made unanimously, according to the Portuguese Minister of Culture, Graça Fonseca.
For the 66 year old, this is an award she shares with all Mozambicans.
“Everything that I tried to write, in the different books, is part of our collective memory. I never spoke, in the books, in my personal voice. Even in the books where I write in the first person I am bringing the collective voice. So it’s a whole people who are graced by this great prize,” Paulina Chiziane said.
Paulina Chiziane was born in Manjacaze, a humble neighbourhood on the outskirts of present-day Maputo, then Lourenço Marques.
The writer who recognizes her humble root is very proud to have seen her work recognised by the highest literary award in the Portuguese language.
“I come from nowhere. I am that person who learnt to read and write, went to school… He had that luck, but he was also lucky enough to walk around the country and discover the wonders that this country has. So, I’m not exactly that person that you can say ‘She came from a social stratum X, so noble’. No, I came from the ground! So, a recognition for someone who came from nowhere, no doubt, is a reason for inspiration for another generation.”
In 1990, Paulina Chizine published “Ballad of Love in the Wind” becoming the first woman to publish a novel in the country. After that she has published 10 more novels, the last one, “The Song of the Enslaved” published in 2017.
Chiziane is the first African woman to win the Camões prize.