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ALEKSANDAR TI?MA, NOTED SERBIAN AUTHOR, AND JOSÉ SARAMAGO, PORTUGUESE WRITER AND NOBEL LAUREATE, ARE DISTINGUISHED VISITING WRITERS IN RESIDENCE AT BARD DURING FALL 2001 Ti?ma and Saramago will give public lectures in addition to participating in Norman

Emily Darrow
845-758-7512
darrow@bard.edu
09-07-2001
*Note Aleksandar Ti?ma's visit to Bard is cancelled.

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.-Two of the most important European writers of our time-Serbian author Aleksandar Ti?ma, and Portuguese novelist José Saramago, who received the Nobel Prize for literature in 1998-are Distinguished Visiting Writers in Residence at Bard College during the fall 2001 semester. Both Saramago and Ti?ma were invited by Norman Manea, the noted exiled Romanian writer who is Francis Flournoy Professor in European Studies and Culture and Writer in Residence at Bard, for his course "Contemporary Masters: Ti?ma and Saramago." Both writers will also give lectures and readings during the semester that will be free and open to the public.

Aleksandar Ti?ma was born in 1924 in Vojvodina, Yugoslavia, to a Serbian Christian Orthodox father and a Hungarian Jewish mother. He attended the University of Belgrade, and divided his time during the war between Belgrade and Novi Sad. It was in his native town of Novi Sad that he experienced the Holocaust. After the war he worked as a journalist in Belgrade, and later became an editor, translator, and writer. He has written 16 works of fiction.

Only three of Ti?ma's books have been translated into English, most recently The Book of Blam (Harvest/Harcourt, 2000), which was originally published in Yugoslavia in 1972. An ironical parody of the Book of Job, it focuses on a permanently damaged Holocaust survivor, Miroslav Blam. The New York Times notes that it is "an exceptional story about the price of survival, by a Balkan voice of reason, full of despair." Ti?ma's other works that are available in English are The Use of Man (1988) and Kapo (1987).

José Saramago, whose work has been translated into 30 languages, is the first Portuguese writer to win the Nobel Prize. He was born in 1922, the son and grandson of rural laborers, and was raised in a small farming community in the Ribajeto before moving to Lisbon. He had no university degree and worked at several jobs before his first novel was published in 1947. Saramago did not publish again for 20 years, as he found it virtually impossible to do so under the political control of Portugal's Salazar dictatorship. After the 1974 coup, Saramago, then in his 50s, was appointed editor of the Lisbon newspaper Diario de Noticias. In 1980 his first major works began to appear.

Eight years ago Saramago moved to the Canary Islands after Portugal's Minister of Culture tried, on the grounds of blasphemy, to remove The Gospel According to Jesus Christ from the list of contestants for the 1992 European Literature Prize. The book went on to sell 20,000 copies in one week in Portugal and won the author his country's Writers Association Prize for best novel of the year. He holds honorary doctorates from the University of Turin (Italy) and the University of Sevilla (Spain). In 1993 Saramago won England's Independent Foreign Fiction Prize. He was recently named a Knight Commander of the Order of Sant'Iago e Espada by Portugal's president.

All the Names (2000) is the seventh of Saramago's novels to appear in English translation. His other novels, all published in the United States by Harcourt, are: Baltasar and Blimunda (1987), The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis (1990), The Gospel According to Jesus Christ (1994), The Stone Raft (1995), The History of the Siege of Lisbon (1997), Blindness (1998), and The Tale of the Unknown Island (2000).

Norman Manea says that "both these writers have had quite harsh personal biographies-Ti?ma was in a concentration camp and lived under communism, while Saramago was a leftist under the Salazar dictatorship in Portugal. But despite their personal sufferings and political beliefs they remained artists, faithful to the aesthetic criteria and literary values." Manea feels strongly that it is very important for his students to study with such writers. The course "Contemporary Masters" is in its third year at Bard; previous writers invited to this program were Philip Roth and Saul Bellow.

For further information about Bard College, visit the website www.bard.edu or call 845-758-6822.

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(9.7.01)

[Editor's Note: Aleksandar Ti?ma 's and José Saramago's photographs are available electronically. Call 845-758-7512 or e-mail darrow@bard.edu]

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This event was last updated on 10-05-2001