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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

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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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Abdulai Silá

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Abdulai Silá (or Silla, Sila) was born on 1 April 1958 in Catió; he is an engineer, economist, social researcher and writer. He studied at the Technical University of Dresden in Germany from 1979 to 1985 and works as an engineer alongside his career in writing. He is author of the novels Eterna Paixão [Eternal Passion] (1994); A Última Tragédia [The Final Tragedy] (1995) and Mistidia (1997) and has also written a play, As orações de Mansata [Mansata’s Prayers] (2007) based on Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Sila is co-founder of the publishing house Kusimon Editora, together with Teresa Montenegro and Fafali Koudowa, which is the only private publisher in Guinea-Bissau.

Q. Abdulai Silá, you said to me that there were two most influential figures in your life: one was your father and the other was Amílcar Cabral.1 Can you talk about your personal life, about you, your interests and future projects: how did you become a writer? What role does the nation play in your work, as it is your work that constitutes one of the nation’s building blocks?

A. I was born in Catió, in the South of Guinea-Bissau, on 1 April 1958, through a coincidence – neither my father nor my mother are from the area. Thanks to these unexpected events, which are part of life, I grew up in the city, where I also attended a missionary school. Then, in the 1970s, I moved to Bissau, because at the time...

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