Events News Press
XVI Lisbon

ULYSSES European Odyssey

Gonçalo M. Tavares
Intergenerational matters. Europe’s ageing population: a crisis or an opportunity?

Eighteen established writers, one from each city/region, will be commissioned to write a chapter in a response to their Arts & Society theme within the context of their city.

Just as Ulysses is innovative in its form and language, so the writers will be chosen with a view to reflecting a breadth of genres, styles and innovations. Each writer will ideally attend their own city’s event. All the (new) chapters from the 18 cities/regions will be brought together in a book publication: ULYSSES European Odyssey.

Gonçalo M. Tavares will write Lisbon’s chapter.

Writer’s Statement

Joyce and his language and narrative adventure. All concentrated in one day. And in each of the eighteen chapters is the whole human world: its tragedies and comedies, its ridiculousness and its greatness. Chapter 16 of this extraordinary book is no exception. Everything is there. But, amidst Joyce’s irony and sarcasm, themes such as old age and abandonment stand out, themes that will be developed by Marco Martins and the community integrated in the project – “a non-professional cast of young and old who live in shelters (orphanages, day centres, asylums, homes, etc.) whose lives and stories will be collected and integrated into the script of the show. In chapter 16 of Joyce’s “Ulysses”, Stephen and Bloom stay in the coachman’s shelter. A shelter? Real, against bad weather or some current physical threat?

Affective, against old mistreatment and the memory that cannot be freed from them? Difficult to answer. This chapter 16, by the way, is still full of stories told by those who pass through the shelter, sober or less sober. And this is also one of the essential points: what stories do the ‘sheltered’ have – let’s call so to those who seek shelter, whatever it may be – what stories do they have to tell? It is therefore necessary to put an attentive ear and rest the mouth that issues laws and advice. Listen only to those who seek shelter, that is part of the project here and part of this Chapter 16. What do people “institutionally sheltered” have to say? Like Stephen and Bloom: listen. The questions posed in this project, then, linked to the way we treat the elderly and institutionalised people, which refer to “marginalisation, social reintegration and abandonment, aging and generational confrontation”, are all in this universal chapter 16 by Joyce. Perhaps it could be said that, in part, this project will aim to revisit Joyce’s often humorous, always sarcastic and ironic chapter 16, from a more tense and affective point of view. Inverting the classic phrase: seriously returning to the place where irony began. An ever-modern 16th chapter that the harsh modern times do not allow us to forget.

Writer’s Biography

Gonçalo M. Tavares was born in Luanda in 1970. He hesitated between football and pure mathematics, but his path led him to writing. He has surprised his readers with the variety of books he has published since 2001 and has been awarded an impressive number of national and international literary prizes in a very short time. In 2005, with Jerusalém, he won the José Saramago Prize for young writers under 35. Jerusalém was also awarded the Prémio Portugal Telecom de Literatura em Língua Portuguesa 2007 and the LER/Millenium Prize. His novel Aprender a rezar na era da técnica received the prestigious Prize for the Best Foreign Book in France, in 2010. This book was also shortlisted for the renowned French literary awards Femina Étranger Prize and Médicis Prize and won the Special Prize of the Jury of the Grand Prix Littéraire du Web Cultura 2010. In 2011, Gonçalo M. Tavares received the renowned Grande Prémio da Associação Portuguesa de Escritores. He was also nominated for the renowned Dutch Europese Literatuurprijs 2013 and was long-listed for the Best Translated Fiction Book Award 2013. He was nominated for the International IMPAC Dublin award 2013 and, most recently, for the Prix Jean-Monnet de Littérature Européenne 2015 and 2019. Gonçalo M. Tavares’ work has been published in almost 50 countries.