Portuguese American Journal

Culture: Literary residencies created for world writers – Azores

The President of the Azorean Government, José Manuel Bolieiro, announced the creation of a pioneering literary residency program for world writers.

The initiative was revealed during a book launch event at the Letras Lavadas bookshop in Ponta Delgada. The occasion marked the release of David Lopes’s new book Uma Varanda Sobre Tóquio, Almedina (2023)

Polish writer Olga Tokarczuk, Nobel Prize for Literature (2018), will be the inaugural guest of the program aimed at attracting globally recognized writers.

“We are privileged to initiate the first experimental literary residency in the Azores next month, featuring distinguished international writer Olga Tokarczuk,” Bolieiro declared, underscoring the program’s potential to elevate the Azores’ literary standing on a global scale.

The program was proposed by author David Lopes and is co-sponsored by the Praia da Vitória City Council.

President Bolieiro also announced the creation of the Book Voucher program, providing a €100 stipend to promote book purchases among young adults.

“This is an investment in our youth, akin to a valuable birthday present for every 18-year-old,” he explained, affirming his commitment to transform the Azores into an “archipelago of readers.”

The event, which highlighted the historical and literary ties between the Azores and Japan, drew parallels between David Lopes’ experiences and those of Venceslau de Morais, a celebrated Portuguese writer and naval officer who lived in Japan over a century ago.

Through his extensive writings, Morais shared his nuanced observations of Japanese culture with Portuguese readers, a legacy that Lopes now continues with his literary contributions.

David Lopes, formerly a senior executive in several international corporations, including Aeon Topvalu of the Aeon Group, and CEO of the Francisco Manuel dos Santos Foundation, has also been involved in the Lisbon Oceanarium. He described his book as an extensive memoir of his profound experiences in Japan, intended initially for personal circles but which has broader appeal due to the shared cultural insights between Portuguese and Japanese audiences.

Lopes holds a degree in Business Organisation and Management and has played significant roles in global business, including as the international president of Daymon Worldwide. He remains actively engaged in cultural initiatives, such as leading a public reading project in a small town in Alentejo, reflecting his deep commitment to both his professional and literary pursuits.

Source: Azores Goverment


The Azores (population 250,000) is a region of Portugal composed of nine islands. The archipelago discovered by Portuguese explorers in the 15th century became an Autonomous Region of Portugal in 1976. The government of the Autonomous Region of the Azores includes the Legislative Assembly, composed of 57 elected deputies, elected by universal suffrage for a four-year term; the Regional Government and Presidency, with parliamentary legitimacy, composed of a President, a Vice-President and seven Regional Secretaries responsible for the Regional Government executive operations. The Autonomous Region of the Azores is represented in the Council of Ministers of the Central Government by a representative appointed by the President of Portugal. According to the latest US census over 1.3 million individuals of Portuguese descent live in the United States, the majority with roots in the Azores. It is estimated that over 20,000 US citizens live in Portugal.

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