António Lobo Antunes

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António Lobo Antunes in March 2010

António Lobo Antunes, GCSE (Portuguese: [ɐ̃ˈtɔniu ˈloβu ɐ̃ˈtunɨʃ]; born 1 September 1942) is a Portuguese novelist and medical doctor. He has been named as a contender for the Nobel Prize in Literature.[1]

Life and career[edit]

António Lobo Antunes was born in Lisbon as the eldest of six sons of João Alfredo de Figueiredo Lobo Antunes (born 1915), prominent Neurologist and professor, close collaborator of Egas Moniz, Nobel prize of physiology, and wife Maria Margarida Machado de Almeida Lima (born 1917). He is the brother of João Lobo Antunes and Manuel Lobo Antunes. [2]

At the age of seven he decided to be a writer, but when he was 16, his father sent him to the medical school of the University of Lisbon. He graduated as a medical doctor, later specializing in psychiatry. During this time he never stopped writing.

By the end of his education, Lobo Antunes had to serve with the Portuguese Army to take part in the Portuguese Colonial War (1961–1974). In a military hospital in Angola he became interested in the subjects of death and "the other."[3]

Lobo Antunes came back from Africa in 1973. The Angolan War of Independence was the subject of many of his novels. He worked many months in Germany and Belgium.

In 1979, Lobo Antunes published his first novel, Memória de Elefante (Elephant's Memory), in which he told the story of his separation. Due to the success of his first novel, Lobo Antunes decided to devote his evenings to writing. He has been practicing psychiatry as well, mainly at the outpatients' unit at the Hospital Miguel Bombarda of Lisbon.

His style is considered to be very dense, heavily influenced by William Faulkner and Louis-Ferdinand Céline, and his books also tend to be on the longer side.

He has published more than twenty novels, among the most important are Fado Alexandrino (1983), As Naus (1988) and O Manual dos Inquisadores (1996). His works have been translated to more than thirty languages.[4]

He was granted the Grand Cross of the Order of Saint James of the Sword.

Personal life[edit]

He married his first wife Maria José Xavier da Fonseca e Costa (1946–1999), the second of three daughters of José Hermano da Costa and wife Clara da Conceição de Barros Xavier da Fonseca e Costa, by whom he has two daughters: Maria José Lobo Antunes in 1971 and Joana Lobo Antunes in 1973. They were divorced.

His second wife (whom he also divorced) was Maria João Espírito Santo Bustorff Silva (born Lisbon, 13 August 1950), daughter of António Sérgio Carneiro Bustorff Silva and wife Ana Maria da Anunciação de Fátima de Morais Sarmento Cohen do Espírito Santo Silva, by whom she has one daughter: Maria Isabel Bustorff Lobo Antunes (born 1983).

He was married for the third time in 2010 to Cristina Ferreira de Almeida, daughter of João Carlos Ferreira de Almeida (Lisbon, 1941 – 2008) and wife Natércia Ribeiro da Silva.



The following is the chronological list of published works considered canonical by the author himself, the novels and the books of chronicles.


  • Memória de Elefante (1979) Elephant's Memory
  • Os Cus de Judas (1979) The Land at the End of the World (available in English)
  • Conhecimento do Inferno (1980) Knowledge of Hell (available in English)
  • Explicação dos Pássaros (1981) An Explanation of the Birds (available in English)
  • Fado Alexandrino (1983) Fado Alexandrino (available in English)
  • Auto dos Danados (1985) Act of the Damned (available in English)
  • As Naus (1988) The Return of the Caravels (available in English)
  • Tratado das Paixões da Alma (1990) Treatise on the Soul's Passions
  • A Ordem Natural das Coisas (1992) The Natural Order of Things (available in English)
  • A Morte de Carlos Gardel (1994) The Death of Carlos Gardel
  • O Manual dos Inquisidores (1996) The Inquisitors' Manual (available in English)
  • O Esplendor de Portugal (1997) The Splendor of Portugal (available in English)
  • Exortação aos Crocodilos (1999) Warning to the Crocodiles (available in English May 2017)
  • Não Entres Tão Depressa Nessa Noite Escura (2000) Don't Enter That Dark Night So Fast
  • Que Farei Quando Tudo Arde? (2001) What Can I Do When Everything's on Fire? (available in English)
  • Boa Tarde às Coisas Aqui em Baixo (2003) Good Evening to the Things From Here Below
  • Eu Hei-de Amar uma Pedra (2004) I Shall Love a Stone
  • Ontem Não te vi em Babilónia (2006) Didn't See You In Babylon Yesterday
  • O Meu Nome é Legião (2007) My Name Is Legion
  • O Arquipélago da Insónia (2008) Archipelago of Insomnia
  • Que Cavalos São Aqueles Que Fazem Sombra no Mar? (2009) What Horses Are Those That Make Shade On The Sea?
  • Sôbolos Rios Que Vão (2010)
  • Comissão das Lágrimas (2011)
  • Não é Meia-Noite quem quer (2012)
  • Caminha Como Numa Casa em Chamas (2014)
  • Da Natureza dos Deuses (2015)
  • Para Aquela que Está Sentada no Escuro à Minha Espera (2016)
  • Até Que as Pedras Se Tornem Mais Leves Que a Água (2016) translated into French by Dominique Nédellec « Jusqu'à ce que les pierres deviennent plus douces que l'eau » (2019)( Christian Bourgois Éditeur) and in September 2019 into English by Jeffe Love into English “Until Stones Become Lighter Than Water” (Yale University Press).[5]

Books of chronicles:

Lobo Antunes also published five compilation books featuring texts previously published in magazines. They are also canonical according to the author.
  • Livro de Crónicas (1998)
  • Segundo Livro de Crónicas (2002)
  • Terceiro Livro de Crónicas (2006)
  • Quarto Livro de Crónicas (2011)
  • Quinto Livro de Crónicas (2013)

The Fat Man and Infinity & Other Writings - A compilation published in English (2009), translated by Margaret Jull Costa.

At the moment Lobo Antunes writes a biweekly newspaper column for Visão, a Portuguese magazine.

Non-canonical bibliography[edit]

The following is the chronological list of published works but considered non-canonical by the author himself.

  • A História do hidroavião (1994) illustrated by Vitorino
  • Letrinhas das Cantigas (Limited Edition 2002)

Related bibliography[edit]

  • D'este viver aqui neste papel descripto: cartas da guerra ("Cartas da Guerra") (2005) - This book is the collection of war letters written by Lobo Antunes, while on military duties in Angola, to his then wife. They were reorganized by their daughters, with no intervention whatsoever from the author for this publication. The 2016 film Letters from War directed by Ivo M. Ferreira is based on the letter collection.


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ Conrad, Peter (4 May 2009). "Doctor and Patient". The New Yorker.
  4. ^ Antonio Lobo Antunes Literaturfestival Berlin
  5. ^ "Paysages forecast for Nobel Prize in Literature 2018/2019". paysages by Christophe Neff. 8 October 2019. Retrieved 9 October 2019.

External links[edit]