I want you all to consider falling in love with a writer, you probably never heard of. I for sure didn't and I have to say: coming to Lisbon has opened my eyes to many new creative people, I never had on my screen before, if you know what I mean.
Teolinda Gersao is 74 years old, but actually, she looks like 56 at the most. She is funny and smart. I've seen her at a reading here in Lisbon at the Centro Nacional Cultura and I hadn't high expectations. Just curiosity drove me, basically. Three of her stories were read. I liked them all but I was most impressed by The Woman who stole the Rain.
She has written several novels, one of which is translated into english and it is called The Word Tree. It's on my to-read-list now, dealing with the colonial past of Portugal and set in Mozambique, where Gersao lived for a while.
It seems that some of her books have also been translated into German, but they are all out of print. You can only get them 2nd hand. That is, by the way, the only way, I accept Amazon into my life sometimes: to order out-of-print-books.
This is an interview with her in german, because she actually spend quite some time living, studying and teaching in Berlin.
Most of the audience were young people from the US, mostly studying creative writing or literature, hoping to become a teacher for creative writing or literature in the future, before being discovered as great writers. They all exhaled loudly and with relieve, when Gersao said at the end of the reading: "Never write what you believe, an editor might like. Always have the courage to write, what you want. Always have the courage to live, how you want. Some of my books have not been published for 5 years. It wasn't important, because I always had another job, I was never dependent on writing buying me my bread." Afterwards I heard conversations all around me about how happy they were to have seen her and how good it was to be reminded, that only, what your inner voice tells you, is important. Never try to be too likable and never try to be too dependent on your writing.
© Susanne Becker