HéliaCorreia was born in 1949 in a village near Lisbon that inspired Saramago’s book about the building of the Mafra Monastery. She grew up under Salazar’s dictatorship and her father, an antifascist fighter, spent some time in prison. Her mother’s family came from the countryside and had a very close affiliation to religion and popular traditions. She spent a large part of her life at the homes of her mother’s brothers, which left a lasting effect on her imagination and has long been the main source of inspiration for her books. She later moved to Lisbon, where she studied for a degree in Romanic Philology, and became a teacher.
At the age of eighteen she began publishing in literary newspapers and poetic anthologies. A while later, she had her first book published, O Separar das Águas (1981). Her latest novel, Adoecer(2010), is about Elizabeth Siddal, Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s talented and unhappy wife. She also wrote theatre plays in which the Greek myth of female heroines is reinterpreted: Antigone in Perdição – Exercício sobre Antígona (2006), Helen of Troy in Rancor – Exercíciosobre Helena (2000) and Medea in Desmesura – Exercício com Medeia (2006). This theme is repeated in her collection of children’s books, in which Tiresias’s grandson, Mopsos, takes part in the main narratives about Greek classic civilization (Mopsos, O Pequeno Grego – O Ouro de Delfos, 2004). She has also translated and adapted Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Sonho deUma Noite de Verão,2003) and TheTempest (A Ilha Encantada, (2008) for a children’s performance at the Lisbon National Theatre.
Her most recent collection of poetry is A Terceira Miséria (2012). Furthermore, as far as short story collections are concerned, she has published Contos (2008) and VinteDegraus e Outros Contos (2014). In 2015, HéliaCorreia was the recipient of the Camões Prize.