Kalaf Epalanga and Jose Eduardo Agualusa

José Eduardo Agualusa at Afrolit Sans Frontières Season 3.

José Eduardo Agualusa wrapped up Lusophone day at Afrolit Sans Frontières Season 3 from Lisbon, Portugal on May 30, 2020. He was hosted by Kalaf Epalanga.

Afrolit Sans Frontières, a virtual literary festival for writers of African origin, started as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic international lockdown. It has had two iterations with Season 1 curated by festival founder Zukiswa Wanner in March and Season 2 the founder co-curated with Maaza Mengiste in April. Season 3, with curation by Mohale Mashigo and Zukiswa Wanner, features 16 writers from 13 countries streaming from 15 cities in English, French, and Portuguese. All sessions run on the official Afrolit Sans Frontières Instagram page twice daily from May 25 to June 1.

The festival which started on Africa Day, May 25, has so far featured Dilman Dila in Kampala, Uganda; Tochi Onyebuchi in New York, USA; Vamba Sherif in Amsterdam, Holland; Ayesha Harruna Attah in Dakar, Senegal; Beata Umubyeyi Mairesse in Bordeaux, France; Max Lobé in Geneva, Switzerland; Masande Ntshanga in Cape Town, South Africa; Mubanga Kalimamukwento in Minneapolis, USA; Tsitsi Dangarembga in Harare, Zimbabwe; and Leila Aboulela in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Saturday was the designated Lusophone Day at Afrolit Sans Frontières and it started with Virgília Ferrão in Maputo, Mozambique and ended with José Eduardo Agualusa in Lisbon, Portugal. Agualusa has written fifteen novels in Portuguese that have been published in more than thirty countries. One of these, A General Theory of Oblivion, won the International Dublin Literary Award in 2017 and was a finalist for the International Man Booker Prize. One of his previous novels, O Vendedor de Passados, won the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize.

Kalaf Epalanga started proceedings by welcoming his esteemed guest Jose Eduardo Agualusa. After the niceties, the reading started with Agualusa’s son Carlos doing the honours which caused a riot in the comments due to his being quite handsome. With Carlos (verify the total thirst trap claim here) done, Jose and Kalaf started a discussion in both English and Portuguese about the long career of the writer. He spoke about the country in Portuguese speaking Africa that most inspired him (Angola), how A General Theory of Oblivion a book about a woman who locks herself for thirty years has shades of the Covid-19 and its current lockdowns, and how his work reflects the “Past, Present, and Future” festival theme.

You can watch the full interaction in the below video.

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