© Jorge Nogueira
Pepetela, born in Benguela in 1941, is one of Angola’s leading novelists. Distinguished by his consummate ability to combine personal and political elements within a historical context, he was awarded the Prémio Camões and the Prémio Nacional de Cultura e Artes. He occupied a leading position in the fight against Portugal’s colonialism and was a member of the first government after independence. Pepetela lives in Luanda.
Pepetela’s career as a writer started during the war for independence, when he
wrote his first novel, Mayombe,
published in 1980, in which he describes the conflicts in
His novels are mainly set against the backdrop of important historical
events during almost a century of Angolan history. An essential theme of his
work is the greatness and strength of past cultures still existing in modern
The ironical, merciless portrait of the country’s capital Luanda in O desejo de Kianda (“Kianda’s Desire”) shows a post-colonial Angola worn down and devastated by four decades of colonial and civil war. Geração da utopia (“The Generation of a Utopia”) provides a unique vision of the author’s own generation, its dreams of independence, its fights and victories, despair and hope.
O desejo de Kianda is perhaps the most clear-sighted and sober book by Pepetela, one of the best writers of the post-colonial generation. Pepetela succeeds in telling a wonderful tale of political corruption which is also a chronicle of the naked truth about the constant deterioration of living conditions in Angola.
In Jaime Bunda, agente secreto (“Jaime Bunda, Secret Agent”), the author has chosen
the fat, unlucky trainee at
After this successful foray into crime fiction, Pepetela returns with the ambitious and powerful novel Os predadores (“The Predators”) that attempts to get to the heart of Angola's tragic recent history. The novel ostensibly revolves around the character of Vladimiro Caposso, an unscrupulous and opportunistic businessman, charting his rise and fall over the last thirty years.
Going back to the last days of Portuguese colonial rule, we find Caposso aged 18, working in a colonist's grocer's store. When the Portuguese leave, he takes over the store and begins his rise to wealth and power first through the heady days of the transition to independence, then becoming a corrupt bureaucrat as Angola joins the Soviet bloc, and onwards as an entrepreneur into the unrestrained capitalism and social upheaval of the 1990s, the civil war ever simmering in the background.
The action stretches from tribal herdsmen's villages seemingly untouched
by civilisation, through
Following the strongly-drawn characters from the shanty towns to the
mansions of the nouveau-riche with an engrossing plot, passionately written and
keen to explain, there is no more readable introduction to
O Planalto e a Estepe ("The Highlands and the Steppes") tells a true story of great passion and suffering, scarred by a love nourished by hope and waiting. When Júlio is sent from Angola to Portugal to study medicine, he gets involved in clandestine communist cells. In Moscow, he falls in love with the Mongolian girl Sarangerel. But politics and tradition conspire against them, and Sarangerel is taken back to Mongolia. Will they ever meet again?
A journey in time and space, a journey of a generation tired of war in a world that is getting smaller every day.
Jornal de Letras
Set in the heart of Africa at the beginning of the 17th century, Pepetela’s latest novel À Sul. O Sombreiro (“In the South. The Sombreiro”) is full of adventure, political intrigues and magical elements. While the ruthless governor Cerveira founds the town of Benguela, the black native Carlos Rocha flees to the Savannah and stays with one of Africa’s fiercest warrior tribes to avoid a terrible fate.
Pepetela is an author who creates irony as if by magic.
The right book for anyone who wants to leave everyday life behind and find themselves in a different space and time.
Jornal de Letras
For further information, please also visit:
As aventuras de Ngunga, Lisbon: Edições 70 1977, 128 p., Dom Quixote 2002
Angola: UEA 1977 ● Brazil: Ática 1980 ● Cuba: Gente Nueva 2010 ● Germany: Der Kinderbuch Verlag 1981 ● Russia: Khudozhestvenaia 1977 ● Spain: Txalaparta 1997 ● Spain (Basque): Txalaparta 1966 ● Sweden: Afrikagrupperna i Sverige 1983 ● South Africa: Mangalani ● UK: Writers and Readers Publ. Coop. 1980 ● Uruguay: Livros del Artillero, 1986
Brazil: Leya 2007 ● Chile: LOM ● Germany: Volk und Welt 1983, Ed. Südliches Afrika 1985 ● Italy:Lavoro 1989 (avail.) ●
Japan: Ryokuchisha 1993 ● Spain: Txalaparta 1991, Ed. 62 (Catalan) 2010 ● UK: Heinemann 1994
A revolta da casa dos ídolos (theatre), Lisbon: Edições 70, 1980, 157 p.
Brazil: Leya 2007 ● Finland: Like 1991 ● Germany: Ed. Südliches Afrika 1986 ● Italy: Felici ● Sweden: Tranan 2005
Belgium: Éperonniers 1992, ADEN (French) ● Germany: Volk und Welt 1988 ● UK: Heinemann 1996
Brazil: Nova Fronteira 2000, Leya 2011 ● Italy: Diabasis 2009 ● Spain: Txalaparta 2003
Brazil: Leya 2007 ● Finland: Helsinki University Press 2001 ● France: Actes Sud 2002 ● Greece: Kritiki 2001 ● Israel: Kinneret 2011 ● Italy: Lavoro 2010 ● Netherlands: De Geus 2011 ● Spain: Alianza 1999 ● UK:Heinemann 2002
Brazil: Nova Fronteira 2005, Leya 2011 ● Italy: Besa 2000 ● Norway: Cappelen 2003 ● Spain: Alianza 1999, Al otro lado ● Sweden: Tranan 2000
Brazil: Nova Fronteira 1999, Leya 2007 ● Netherlands: Meulenhoff 2001 ● Norway: Cappelen 2006 ● Spain: Texto Editores 2006
Brazil: Record 2003, Leya 2007 ● Cuba: Arte y Literatura 2010 ● Denmark: Hjulet 2002 ● France: Buchet Chastel 2005 ● German: Unionsverlag 2004, pb 2006 ● Italy: Edizioni E/O 2006 ● Mexico: Elefanta (several Latin American countries) ● Poland: Claroscuro 2010 ● Sweden: Panta Rei 2011 ● UK: Aflame 2006
Brazil: Leya 2007 ● Cuba: Arte y Literatura 2011 ● France: Buchet Chastel
Brazil: Leya 2007 ● Bulgaria: Five Plus 2009 ● Italy: Tuga ● Netherlands: De Geus 2008
O quase fim do mundo, Lisbon: Dom Quixote 2008, 384 p.
Brazil: Leya 2008 ● Sweden: Tranan
O Planalto e a Estepe, Lisbon: Dom Quixote 2009, 190 p.
Brazil: Leya 2009 ● Estonia: Loomingu Raamatukogu
À Sul. O Sombreiro, Lisbon: Dom Quixote 2011, 360 p.
Brazil: Leya 2011
Contos de Morte, Lisbon: Ed. Nelson de Matos 2008, 94 p.
Crónicas com Fundo de Guerra, Lisbon: Ed. Nelson de Matos 2011, 216 p.