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Speaking the Postcolonial Nation

Interviews with Writers from Angola and Mozambique


Ana Mafalda Leite, Sheila Khan, Jessica Falconi and Kamila Krakowska

This volume brings together interviews on the topic of the postcolonial nation and its narrations with prominent writers from Angola and Mozambique. The interviewees offer personal insights into the history of post-independence Angola and Mozambique and into the role of the intellectual elite in the complex processes of deconstructing colonial heritage and (re)constructing national identity in a multinational or multiethnic state. Their testimonies provide a parallel narrative that complements the many fictional narrators found in Angolan and Mozambican novels, short stories and poems. The authors interviewed in the book are Luandino Vieira, Ana Paula Tavares, Boaventura Cardoso, José Eduardo Agualusa, Ondjaki and Pepetela from Angola; and João Paulo Borges Coelho, Marcelo Panguana, Mia Couto, Paulina Chiziane, Ungulani Ba Ka Khosa and Luís Carlos Patraquim from Mozambique.
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Interview with João Paulo Borges Coelho


JOÃO PAULO BORGES COELHO, historian and writer, was born in Oporto, Portugal, in 1955, to a Portuguese father and a Mozambican mother. When he was a few months old, his family moved to Mozambique. He grew up in Beira, the second largest city in Mozambique, and later moved to the capital to study history at the Eduardo Mondlane University.

In 1993, he was awarded a PhD in social and economic history by the University of Bradford for a thesis entitled ‘Protected Villages and Communal Villages in the Mozambican Province of Tete (1968–1982): A History of State Resettlement Policies, Development and War’. He is an associate professor in the department of history at the Eduardo Mondlane University where he teaches courses on the contemporary history of Mozambique and southern Africa. He was also invited to teach on the master’s programme on the history of Africa as a visiting professor by the Faculty of Letters at the University of Lisbon. He has published articles on Mozambican colonial and civil wars in several academic journals.

His career as a writer started in 2003 when he published the novel As Duas Sombras do Rio [The Two Shadows of the River]. Since then he has published four more novels: As Visitas do Dr Valdez [The Visits of Dr Valdez] (2004); Crónica da Rua 513.2 [Chronicle of the 513.2 Street] (2006); Campo de Trânsito [The Camp of Transit] (2007); and O Olho de Hertzog [The Eye of Hertzog...

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