Vítor Manuel de Aguiar e Silva is the winner of the 2020 edition of the Camões Prize. He is one of the “eminent teachers” signatories of the Petition in Defense of the Portuguese Language against the Orthographic Agreement, which counts more than one hundred thousand signatures.
He is a researcher dedicated to the study of Portuguese literature from the 16th and 17th centuries, as well as Camonian work and literary methodologies.
From its vast bibliography (see below), stand out Theory of Literature (1967), The Structure of Romance (1974), Literary Theory and Methodology (1990), Camões: Labyrinths and Fascinations (1994).
The minutes of the jury meeting of the 32nd edition of the Camões Prize, which took place in Lisbon, explains the choice of Vítor Manuel de Aguiar e Silva for the edition of the Camões Prize 2020: “The attribution of the Camões Prize to Vítor Aguiar e Silva recognizes the transversal importance of his essay work, and his active role in matters of Portuguese language politics and the canon of Portuguese language literature.“
The minutes adds that “in the context of literary theory, his work has reconfigured the physiognomy of literary studies in all Portuguese-speaking countries. Subject to successive reformulations, the Theory of Literature constitutes itself as an emblematic example of a systematic thinking that continually revisits. It is also worth mentioning the important contribution of his studies on Camões. “
The jury of the 32nd edition of the Camões Prize consists of Clara Rowland, university professor (Portugal); Carlos Mendes de Sousa, university professor (Portugal), Antonio Cícero, university professor (Brazil); António Hohlfeldt, university professor (Brazil); Tony Tcheka, writer (Guinea-Bissau); Nataniel Ngomane, university professor (Mozambique).
The Minister of Culture, Graça Fonseca, highlights the “intellectual and academic qualities, but also for the humanist profile with which she decisively marked generations of students, a little bit everywhere he taught, as well as readers “.
Teacher, poet …
Born in 1939, Aguiar e Silva is a teacher, writer and poet português.
Born in the parish of Real, in the municipality of Penalva do Castelo, he began his studies at the National High School of Viseu. At the University of Coimbra, he completed the Literature course, graduating in Romance Philology. After obtaining your PhD in Portuguese Literature, he took on a teaching career at the Faculty of Letters from the same university in 1979, being transferred to the University of Minho in 1989, where he held the position of vice rector for 12 years.
He participated in the proposal to create the Camões Institute, as coordinator of the working group. He also coordinated the National Portuguese Language Commission (CNALP), having also been a member of the National Council of Culture.
He was distinguished in 2007 with the Vida Literária Award from the Portuguese Writers Association, Vergílio Ferreira from the University of Évora, the D. Dinis Award, Vida Literária Award, Eduardo Prado Coelho Essay Grand Prize and Vasco Graça Moura Prize – Cultural Citizenship.
Professor and researcher with signed credits, author of the most important Portuguese work in Theory of Literature, scholar of Camões and his «labyrinths and fascination», Aguiar e Silva was linked to the University (University of Coimbra and University of Minho, where he was Vice- Dean), and has a solid track record of “cultural citizenship”, collaborating with institutions and initiatives to defend Portuguese literature and language.
The Camões Prize now received is considered the most important in literature to award a Portuguese-speaking author for the whole of his work. The Camões Prize, instituted by Portugal and Brazil in 1989, aims to honor a writer whose work contributes to the projection and recognition of the Portuguese language.
The Camões Prize is awarded annually, alternately in the territory of each of the two countries, with the decision falling to a jury specially constituted for this purpose. The prize consists of a monetary amount resulting from the contributions of the two States, fixed annually by mutual agreement.
Work by Vítor Manuel Aguiar e Silva
Towards an Interpretation of Classicism (1962);
The Theater of the Present time in the Portuguese Romanticism: 1849-1875 (1965);
Theory of Literature (1967);
Notes on the Canon of Lyric Camonian (1968);
Mannerism and Baroque in Portuguese Lyric Poetry (1971);
The Meaning of the Ilha dos Amores Episode in the Structure of Os Lusíadas (1972);
The Democratic Opposition and Its Totalitarian Ideology (1973);
Education System Reform (1973);
The Romance Structure (1974);
Linguistic Competence and Literary Competence: On the Possibility of a Generative Poetics (1977);
Book Review: Literary Theory (1977);
Fialho de Almeida and the Sociocultural Problem of Francesism (1983);
Literary Theory and Methodology (1990);
Imagination and Utopian Thoughts in the Episode of “Ilha dos Amores” (1988);
Maria Alice Nobre Gouveia: 1927-1988 (1991);
Camões: Labyrinths and Fascinations (1994);
The Golden Lira and the Tuba Canora: New Camonian Essays (2008);
Jorge de Sena e Camões: Thirty Years of Love and Melancholy (2009);
Humanities, Cultural Studies, Literature Teaching and Portuguese Language Policy (2010);
Dictionary by Luís de Camões (2011).
Tributes and awards
Grand Cross Degree of the Order of Public Education (October 4, 2004)
Vida Literária Award from the Portuguese Writers Association (2007).
Honoris Causa PhD from the University of the Azores (October 16, 2018)
Awarded since 1989
The first edition of the Camões Prize was in 1989, attributed to Miguel Torga.
1990 João Cabral de Melo Neto, Brazil
1991 José Craveirinha, Mozambique
1992 Vergílio Ferreira, Portugal
1993 Rachel Queiroz, Brazil
1994 Jorge Amado, Brazil
1995 José Saramago, Portugal
1996 Eduardo Lourenço, Portugal
1997 Pepetela, Angola
1998 António Cândido de Mello e Sousa, Brazil
1999 Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen, Portugal
2000 Autran Dourado, Brazil
2001 Eugénio de Andrade, Portugal
2002 Maria Velho da Costa, Portugal
2003 Rubem Fonseca, Brazil
2004 Agustina Bessa-Luís, Portugal
2005 Lygia Fagundes Telles, Brazil
2006 José Luandino Vieira, Portugal / Angola
2007 António Lobo Antunes, Portugal
2008 João Ubaldo Ribeiro, Brazil
2009 Arménio Vieira, Cape Verde
2010 Ferreira Gullar, Brazil
2011 Manuel António Pina, Portugal
2012 Dalton Trevisan, Brazil
2013 Mia Couto, Mozambique
2014 Alberto da Costa e Silva, Brazil
2015 Hélia Correia, Portugal
2016 Raduan Nassar, Brazil
2017 Manuel Alegre, Portugal
2018 Germano Almeida, Cape Verde
2019 – Chico Buarque, Brazil
The prize has already been awarded to 13 Portuguese authors, 13 Brazilians, 2 Angolans, 2 Mozambicans and 2 Cape Verdeans. Among the winners are only six women, and among these authors, none were of African origin.