A tribute to Henrique de Senna Fernandes, a celebration of the 100th anniversary of Clepsydra and a theater show by Comuna de Pedra are the main highlights of the program of this year’s The Script Road – Macau Literary Festival, reduced by the circumstances of 2020 to a single weekend: October 2 to 4. In 1920, the first edition of Clepsydra was released in Lisbon, a book that preserved for eternity the scattered poems written in Macau by renowned Portuguese poet Camilo Pessanha. At about the same time, but in Beijing, one of the most important Chinese writers of the 20 th century, Mao Dun, together with others, established Wenxue Yanjiuhui (Literary Research Association) and took up the editorial role for China’s first short story magazine Xiaoshuo Yuebao.
Now, 100 years later, the two publications and their respective authors will be remembered at the 9th edition of Macau Literary Festival – The Script Road, which will be held from October 2 to 4, at the Old Navy Yard and also at the Portuguese Bookshop. The Short Stories Magazine will be the subject of a lecture by Professor Zhu Shou Tong from the University of Macau; and Camilo Pessanha’s book of poems will be the inspiration for a recital directed by maestro Simão Barreto.
This edition of The Script Road will be shorter than previous ones, and almost exclusively filled with sessions involving Macau authors. This is of course due to the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown situation that has overtaken the world throughout 2020. At the inaugural session of this year’s festival, local authors Eric Chau, Wang Feng, Jenny Lao-Phillips, and Konstantin Bessmertny will reflect on the effects of this crisis on the society of the future, and on the impact that it may have on their work and careers.
On the first day of the festival, the winners of the festival’s Short Stories Competition will be announced, together with the release of the seventh edition of the festival’s book of short stories and other writings, “Seventh Heaven”, which will be in the form of poetry, based on the theme of last year’s festival. Among the 2019 guests included in this collection of poems are Jidi Majia, José Luís Peixoto, Gisela Casimiro, and Hirondina Joshua.
With the focus mainly on local talent this year, the festival has invited local writer and illustration artist Lin Ge to create the official image for The Script Road – Macau Literary Festival based around the idea of ‘Lockdown’. Having recently published their new books, Lin Ge, Lawrence Lei, and Joseph Ngai have been invited to discuss them during the three-day festival. Macau theatre association Comuna de Pedra will present a play partially inspired by the novel 1984 by George Orwell, and also On Tyranny by Timothy Snyder.
The screening of locally produced films and a photography exhibition based on the theme “Macau 2020: Time for Introspection”, are examples of other artistic expressions that will once again be part of the festival. The photography exhibition will open on October 2 at the Portuguese Bookshop Gallery, where the fourth issue of Zine photo magazine will also be released.
Last but not least, on the closing day of the event, October 4, arguably the most meaningful session of the festival will take place: a celebration of Henrique de Senna Fernandes’ life and career, on the 10th anniversary of his death. Local publisher PraiaGrande Edições will be releasing the first Chinese and English translations of Nam Van – Tales of Macao, a short-stories collection that the Macanese writer first published in Portuguese back in 1978. During the same final session, Miguel de Senna Fernandes, son of the Macanese writer and the man behind local theatre comedy group Doci Papiaçam, will also release his first storybook.
When: October 2–4, 2020
How much: Free admission
For more information and full program, check their website