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Voices, Languages, Discourses

Interpreting the Present and the Memory of Nation in Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau and São Tomé and Príncipe


Edited By Ana Mafalda Leite, Jessica Falconi, Kamila Krakowska, Sheila Kahn and Carmen Tindó Secco

This volume brings together a selection of interviews with writers and filmmakers from Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau and São Tomé and Príncipe in order to examine representations and images of national identity in the postcolonial narratives of these countries. It continues and completes the exploration of the postcolonial imaginary and identity of Portuguese-speaking Africa presented in the earlier volume of interviews Speaking the Postcolonial Nation: Interviews with Writers from Angola and Mozambique (2014).

Memory, history, migration and diaspora are core notions in the recreation and reconceptualization of the nation and its identities in Cape Verdean, Guinean and São Tomean literary and cinematographic culture. By assembling different generations of writers and filmmakers, with a wide variety of perspectives on the historical, social and cultural changes that have taken place in their countries, this book makes a valuable contribution to current debates on postcolonialism, nation and identity in these former Portuguese colonies.

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Leão Lopes


Leão Lopes was born in 1948 in Porto Novo, Santo Antão, Cape Verde; he is a writer, plastic artist, director and academic. He studied Painting at the Escola Superior de Belas Artes in Lisbon and got a PhD from the University of Rennes II with a thesis on Cape Verdean writer Baltasar Lopes. In 1979 he founded the NGO AtelierMar in Mindelo to support and enable local artists, which he is still leading. Lopes was Minister of Culture under the government of Carlos Veiga (1991–2000) and is currently and MP for MpD (Movement for Democracy). His work as a film maker include O Ilhéu de Contenda [The Island of Contenda] (1996), based on a novel by Henrique Texeira de Sousa, and the documentaries Bitú (2009) and São Tomé – Os Últimos Contratados [São Tomé – The Last Contracts] (2010). He is also dean of the Institute for Arts, Technology and Culture (M_EIA) in Mindelo, which he founded and which is offering post-graduate degrees in film and audiovisual arts.

Q. I would like to ask you to state what nation is to you as an artist?

A. You have got me there, because I never thought about it in this way. My experiences with the idea of nation are more emotional than intellectual. It’s something I feel deep inside, in an affective and emotional way, and only eventually this is translated into a conscious thinking through the things that affect...

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