22. ilb 07. - 17.09.2022

Ana Luísa Amaral

Portrait Ana Luísa Amaral
© Ali Ghandtschi

Ana Luísa Amaral was born in Lisbon in 1956. She studied English and wrote her PhD dissertation on Emily Dickinson. Many of her academic analyses on English and American poetry, comparative poetry, and women’s studies have been published in Portugal and abroad. She is the co-author of a »Dictionary of Feminist Criticism« and is coordinator and comment editor of »New Portuguese Letters« (2010). She also taught English literature at the University of Porto.

Amaral made her debut as a poet in 1990 with the book of poems »Minha Senhora de Quê« (tr: My Lady of What). The title of the collection refers to the volume »Minha Senhora de Mim« (tr: My Lady of Me) published by Maria Teresa Horta in 1971 and thus follows in the footsteps of female, Portuguese-language poetry. Amaralʼs poems present a critical confrontation of male-dominated literary traditions. In doing so, she often uses archetypes drawn from biblical or ancient Greek texts and myths, which she reinterprets from the female perspective. To date, Amaral has published seventeen volumes of poetry, written essays and dramas that have been preformed in many theaters throughout Portugal, and has eleven childrenʼs books. Published in 2013, Amaral’s first novel, »Ara«, questions the common definition of genre in both its form and its narrative. »I am not a novelist. If I were a novelist, I would divide myself up into fictional names – but I can’t. The very idea of writing a story scares me.« This beginning forms the poetic sequence of the work, the process which subsequently breaks down gender-specific boundaries of narrative traditions. This fragmentary, self-questioning structure corresponds to the story of the love between the narrator and a woman, that, due to their other obligations, can also only be lived in a fragmentary way. This unfulfillment is reflected in the abyss of the narrative labyrinth.

In addition, Amaral has published numerous translations of English-language authors such as William Shakespeare, Emily Dickinson, and John Updike. She has received numerous awards for her literary work, including the most important Portuguese poetry prize, the Grande Prémio of the Portuguese Writers’ Association 2008, Prize Reina Sofia for IberoAmerican Poetry 2021 and the Italian prize Giuseppe Acerbi 2007. Her poems have been broadcast in many European countries, the United States, and Latin America.