José Luandino Vieira

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José Luandino Vieira (born José Vieira Mateus da Graça on 4 May 1935) is an Angolan writer of short fiction and novels.[1]


Vieira was born in Lagoa de Furadouro, Ourém, Portugal and was Portuguese by birth and ethnicity, but his parents immigrated to Angola in 1938 and he grew up immersed in the African quarters (musseques) of Luanda. He wrote in the language unique to the musseque, a fusion of Kimbundu and Portuguese. He left school at the age of fifteen and worked as a mechanic.[2] He was devoted to Angolan independence, resulting in his arrest in 1961 after an interview with the BBC in which he disclosed secret lists of deserters from the Portuguese army fighting in Africa. He would remain in jail for eleven years.

Vieira's works often followed the structure of the African oral narrative and dealt with the harsh realities of Portuguese rule in Angola. His best-known work was his early short story collection, Luuanda (1963), which received a Portuguese writers' literary award in 1965, though it was banned by the Portuguese government until 1974 due to its examination of the oppressiveness of the colonial administration in Angola. A year after his publication of Luuanda, he was sent to the Tarrafal Camp for eight years.[3] He later headed for Lisbon in 1972 and was placed under controlled surveillance until the Carnation revolution. His novella A vida verdadeira de Domingos Xavier (The Real Life of Domingos Xavier; 1974) portrayed both the cruelty of the Portuguese administration and the courage of ordinary Angolans during the colonial period.Other works include Velhas estórias ("Old Stories"; 1974), Nós os do Makulusu ("Our Gang from Makulusu"; 1974), Vidas novas ("New Lives"; 1975), and João Vêncio: os seus amores ("João Vêncio: Regarding His Loves"; 1979).

Vieira turned down the 100,000 Euros Camões Literary Prize awarded to him in May 2006, citing personal reasons.

Vieira also served as secretary-general of the Union of Angolan writers, and in that capacity helped get the works of other Angolan authors and poets published.


  • Luuanda, 1963 (English trans. by Tamara L. Bender Heinemann, African Writers Series no. 222, 1980)
  • A vida verdadeira de Domingos Xavier, 1971 (trans. by Michael Wolfers as The Real Life of Domingos Xavier, Heinemann, African Writers Series no. 202, 1978)
  • Velhas estórias ("Old Stories"), 1974
  • Nós os do Makulusu ("Our Gang from Makulusu"), 1974
  • Vidas novas ("New Lives"), 1975
  • João Vêncio: os seus amores("João Vêncio: His Loves"), 1979
  • Lourentinho, dona Antónia de Sousa Neto e eu ("Lourentinho, Antónia de Sousa Neto and I"), 1981


  1. ^ Ray, ed. by Mohit K. (2007). The Atlantic Companion to Literature in English. New Delhi: Atlantic Publishers & Distributors. p. 550. ISBN 978-81-269-0832-5.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  2. ^ Stewart Brown, Writers From Africa, London: Book Trust, 1989.
  3. ^ "Échos amadiens en Afrique lusophone : la réception de l’œuvre de Jorge Amado en Angola" - (in French)

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