Livraria Lello and Time Magazine do a project in honor of the Nobel Prizes for Literature

    Livraria Lello, in Porto, at June 1st, inaugurated an “unprecedented” project with Time magazine, which highlights authors awarded by the Swedish academy who were the cover of the North American magazine, and a room dedicated to the only Nobel Prize for Literature in Portuguese.

    “Through this project, we intend to give visibility to the awards inherent to literature, draw attention once again to the importance of the book and develop our journey and our mission to make the whole world read and value the book”, said the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Livraria Lello, Aurora Pedro Pinto.

    The art installation “Lello X Time Bookstore: What Makes a Nobel?”, signed by Time’s creative director, DW Pine, highlights authors who received the Nobel, but also others who “deserved front page honors” at Time because of “their value ‘nobelizable` of its literature”.

    For DW Pine, who today joined the project’s presentation via streaming, he explained that this is the first time his work has been on display and that he is looking forward to the reaction of the public.

    The installation is made up of 12 panels, which feature the covers of Time magazine, from Rudyard Kipling, one of the first Nobel Prizes in Literature, to Toni Morrison, awarded by the Swedish Academy in 1993, as well as other authors who were highlighted on the front page, such as Virginia Woolf and William Shakespeare.

    The panel dedicated to José Saramago, also written by Time, focuses on one of the photos that could have been selected for the front page, similarly to the studies that lead to the choice of many of the faces that usually make up the cover of Time.

    The panel is located in a room exclusively dedicated to José Saramago, together with a series of titles by the Portuguese author, including four books published by Lello.

    The Saramago Collection is the result of an editorial partnership with Porto Editora and the illustrations of the four works — “Memorial do Convento”, “Ensaio Sobre a Cegueira”, “Evangelho Segundo Jesus Cristo” and “As Intermitências da Morte” — count with illustrations by João Maio Pinto.

    In the presentation of the project, Pilar del Rio, president of the José Saramago Foundation, considered that the tribute is the start of the commemorations of the writer’s centenary, which takes place in 2022, and launched a challenge to Time’s creative director.

    “Saramago was never on the cover of Time. Why not now? I’m a journalist, if you want I can give you reasons,” said Pilar del Rio, who intends to take advantage of the centenary to say: “Cheer up, we’re strong, we can read and if we go learned, educated beings, no one can with us. We are invincible.”

    Writer José Luis Peixoto, José Saramago Prize, in 2001, also considered the Portuguese Nobel “one of the great names in Portuguese literature, since there has been a Portuguese language”.

    “We are contemporaries of José Saramago and, many times, there may be a certain difficulty in making this recognition, being so connected to the person and even to his work, which tells us so much and so directly, but we are moving towards a point where this is unquestionable,” he said.

    Also according to José Luís Peixoto, “Saramago is one of the most internationally recognized authors and this is not by chance, it has to do with the fact that literature itself aspires to universality, insofar as, when it survives translation, it is because it surpasses its language surpasses its culture and, deep down, speaks of what literature always tries to say is what does not change and what does not change is human nature. What we all share regardless of where we live and even regardless of time in which we live”.

    “The José Saramago Literary Prize was my Nobel Prize, regardless of the prizes I have received since then and, I believe, regardless of the prizes I may receive in the future. I doubt that I can have a prize in my life that could be more important for me what it was like to receive the José Saramago Award in 2001. By the time it happened, I was in a situation where life could follow several paths and, in fact, having received this award clearly changed my life in a way that I , despite having already written about it, I still don’t know if I’m able to fully understand,” he added.

    Livraria Lello, opened in 1906, received in 2019, in the pre-pandemic period, more than 1.2 million visitors and sold more than 700 thousand books.

    @ Lusa/ RTP

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