Biography

Pepetela

Artur Carlos Maurício Pestana dos Santos is a major Angolan writer of fiction. He writes under the name Pepetela.

A white Angolan, Pepetela fought as a member of the MPLA in the long guerrilla war for Angola's independence. Much of his writing deals with Angola's political history in the 20th century. Mayombe, for example, is a novel that portrays the lives of a group of MPLA guerrillas who are involved in the anti-colonial struggle, Yaka follows the lives of members of a white settler family in the coastal town of Benguela, and A Geração da Utopia reveals the disillusionment of young Angolans during the post-independence period. Pepetela has also written about Angola's earlier history in A Gloriosa Família and Lueji, and has expanded into satire with his series of Jaime Bunda novels. His most recent works include Predadores, a scathing critique of Angola's ruling classes, O Quase Fim do Mundo, a post-apocalyptic allegory, and O Planalto e a Estepe, a look at Angola's history and connections with other former communist nations. Pepetela won the Camões Prize, the world's highest honour for Lusophone literature, in 1997. Pepetela is a Kimbundu word that means "eyelash," as does "pestana" in Portuguese. The author received this nickname during his time fighting with the MPLA.