NEW BEDFORD — Although Portuguese novelists João de Melo and António Lobo Antunes have received much international critical acclaim, with the latter even being nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature, many argue their work is actually underrated because it remains relatively obscurity in the English-speaking world.
Described as “difficult writers” by some, their mostly dark novels focus on wars unknown to most English speakers, forced migrations, human suffering and geographies many have not traveled. So why should anyone read their books?
That’s the question author, translator and Fulbright scholar Dr. Elizabeth Lowe will answer in a virtual lecture on Tuesday, May 3 at 7 p.m., as part of the 2022 Portuguese and Lusophone Lecture Series. of the World at the New Bedford Whaling Museum.
As a close reader and translator of both authors, Dr. Lowe will address the pleasure and pain of translating these masters of contemporary Portuguese and world letters.
“We are thrilled to welcome Elizabeth to the Whaling Museum as we strive to celebrate and raise awareness of these incredible facets of Portuguese culture,” said Amanda McMullen, President and CEO of the New Bedford Whaling Museum in a statement. prepared.
Born in 1942 in Lisbon, António Lobo Antunes is a retired doctor, who has published more than 20 novels, including “Fado Alexandrino” (1983), “As Naus” (1988) and “O Manual dos Inquisidores” (1996) . His works have been translated into over 30 languages.
João de Melo, born in the Azores in 1949, has written more than 20 books. Her most famous novel is ‘Happy People in Tears’, an award-winning tale about the diaspora. Using shifting narratives, it tells the story of an impoverished family’s obsessive search for happiness in the Azores, from São Miguel, the Azores, through mainland Portugal, California, New England and the Canada, while offering a vision of Portugal at the time of the Salazar dictatorship and its colonial wars in Africa.
Dr. Lowe, currently in residence at the Hélio and Amélia Pedroso/Luso-American Development Foundation Chair in Portuguese Studies at UMass Dartmouth, has previously published English translations of de Melo’s work and is currently translating three novels by ‘Antunes for an English publication.
“The Center for Portuguese Studies and Culture at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth has been one of our most dedicated partners over the years and has done an incredible job of amplifying the museum’s work in the Portuguese community” , McMullen said.
Dr. Lowe is Professor of Translation at New York University’s School of Professional Studies and was awarded the National Endowment for the Arts Literary Translation Fellowship for 2020-21 and a Fulbright Prize for conducting literary research in Brazil in 2020.
His lecture will be the second in a series of events in 2022 hosted by the New Bedford Whaling Museum to highlight Portuguese history and culture in New England and around the world.
The World Portuguese and Lusophone Lecture Series is made possible by the New Bedford Whaling Museum, and in part by the Luso-American Foundation and the Department of Portuguese and Brazilian Studies at Brown University.
The conference is free and will be presented in English via Zoom. Pre-registration is required and is available through click here.