Lídia Jorge was born in Boliqueime, southern Portugal, in 1946. She studied Latin Literatures in Lisbon and spent some years teaching in Angola and Mozambique, during the independence struggle. She now lives between Lisbon and Boliqueime. Author of eleven novels she has also written short stories, chronicles, drama and essays and two books for children.
Her first two novels, O dia dos prodígios (The Day of the Miracles) and O cais das merendas (The Pier of the Snacks), immediately made Lídia Jorge one of Portugal’s most highly regarded writers placing her in the avant-garde of contemporary Portuguese literature. For the latter she was awarded the Prize of the City of Lisbon, together with José Saramago (Memorial do convento).
Like many of her generation, the experience of the colonial war was decisive for Lídia Jorge: “The history of this war has yet to be written”, she commented. In her novel of 1988 A Costa dos Murmúrios (The Murmuring Coast, translated by Natália Costa and Ronald W. Sousa, U of Minnesota P in 1995) she writes about it from the point of view of a woman. This novel was adapted to the cinema by Margarida Cardoso, keeping the same title.
Her novel The Painter Of Birds (translated by Margaret Jull Costa, Harcourt, 2001) was one of the favourite titles on the Best of 2001 list in the book review section of the Los Angeles Times. This book was awarded many literay prizes including, among others, Dom Dinis, Portuguese Pen Club, as well as the French Jean Monet Prize for European Literature (European Writer of the Year), and was shortlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award 2003.
In 2006, the Günter Grass Foundation awarded Lídia Jorge its newly created literary prize, the Albatros. In 2007 she has received Grande Prémio SPA/Millennium for her life’s work by the Portuguese Writer’s Association.
In 2013, Lídia Jorge was honoured as one of the “10 greatest literary voices” by the renowned French Magazine Littéraire and, in 2014, she was awarded the Premio Luso-Español de Arte y Cultura. In 2015 Lídia Jorge received the Vergílio Ferreira Award for her body of work and the Urbano Tavares Rodrigues Award for her novel Os Memoráveis (Those to Remember).