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Professor Helder Macedo

Camoens Emeritus Professor of Portuguese


Helder Malta Macedo, who taught in the department for many years, is also a renowned poet, essayist and novelist. He was born on 30 November 1935 in South Africa and spent his childhood in Mozambique before moving to Lisbon aged 12 and eventually studying at the School of Law there. He began writing poetry and novels during this period, but following censorship of his work by the Salazar regime, ceased to write until later in life.

A committed anti-fascist Macedo was arrested and imprisoned by the state police leading to his exile in London in 1960. It was at this point that Helder Macedo joined King's College London both as a PhD student and as an Assistant Lecturer and later Lecturer in Portuguese Literature and History. Partes de África (Stories from Africa, 1991) and Pedro e Paula (Peter and Paula, 1998) were the first of several novels published to great critical acclaim. The latter Hélder Macedo describes as "about his own memory of the years of Portuguese colonial war and dictatorship." Reevaluating recent Portuguese history, this novel was a great success in literary circles.

Following this success Hélder Macedo collaborated on several other publications, distinguishing himself with his innovative perspectives on the connection between the literary text and the intellectual and cultural horizons in which it was produced. During this time Macedo also became known as a brilliant writer of poetry; publishing “Virtue and Vice” in 2000 and “Travel Winter and Other Poems” later.

Macedo lived in Portugal from 1975 to 1980 before returning to King's as a professor of Portuguese Literature. He held the Camoes Chair from 1982-2004.