Ambivalent Dissent: Angolan Writer Refuses Award, Then Clams Up
Angolan writer Luandino Vieira affirmed this Sunday that his refusal in receiving the 2006 CamÃµes Literature Prize was due to ethical, patriotic and moral reasons, although happy with the merit of the most important literary prize of the Portuguese speaking community, estimated at 100,000 Euros.
And then he falls silent?
Mr. Vieira may have excellent reasons for refusing Portugal's premier literary award, but steadfastly refuses to discuss them, fearing that doing so will cause controversy. However, the controversy started the minute he declined the ample literary award. Apparently, the ethical, moral, and patriotic rationale that led to refusal is not as compelling as it might be. It is curious that he claims to feel honored by the award, yet not honored enough to accept it; morally outraged, yet not outraged enough to explain himself. This ambivalent position is small beer indeed, especially for a writer known for his courageous and innovative art.