- Category: TOW 2011
Poet, prose-writer and documentarian ONDJAKI, was born in 1977 in Angola’s capital city, Luanda, which is also where he grew up. Ondjaki studied Sociology in Lisbon, obtained his Masters qualification in Cinema studies in New York and completed his doctorate in African Studies at Naples University.
A prolific writer of the Portuguese language in Africa who has published his own poems and novels across the past decade, the highly versatile Ondjaki has also exhibited his paintings, and given public performances as an actor. In 2006, he co-directed a documentary about the city of Luanda. Ondjaki also writes for theatre and for television.
Ondjaki was awarded the Grande Prémio de Conto Camilo Castelo Branco for 2008 by the Portuguese Writers' Association for his novel Os da Minha Rua (Those of My Street). In 2008, he was also distinguished with the Grinzane for Africa award, in the category of young writer and his most recent win is of the prestigious Jabuti Prize 2010 with his book AvóDezanove e o Segredo do Soviético (AvóDezanove and the Secret of the Soviet).
A member of the Union of Angolan Writers, Ondjaki has had some of his books translated into French, Spanish, Italian, German, English, Serbian and Swedish.
On his motivation for writing, Ondjaki comments: “In the end, I think I write because of a need. I write prose and poetry because I feel I have something to share, or a good tale to write about. I also think that writing may be a process of making some sort of intervention in the world.”
Of his writing process, Ondjaki continues to insightfully articulate: “I write mostly during the night, where ghosts and silences wait for me.”
Ondjaki currently lives in Rio de Janiero, Brazil.
Bom dia camaradas, Biblioasis, 2009
Materiais para confecção de um espanador de tristezas, Caminho, 2009
Os da minha rua, Caminho, 2007
Quantas madrugadas tem a noite, Lavoro, 2006
O Assobiador, Aflame Books, 2002