It took a while. I needed almost 20 years as a staff journalist working for the Portuguese daily national newspaper Público, based in Lisbon, to realise that what I really like to write are life narratives. What drives me is stories that draw attention to people who would, most probably, remain outside the media radars.
Coisas de Loucos-O que eles deixaram no manicómio (Foolish things-What they left behind in the insane asylum) is the last book I wrote, photographs by Paulo Porfírio. It all started when I accidentaly found a cardboard box in the attic of the first insane asylum in Portugal, Hospital Miguel Bombarda: it was filled with personal belongings of former psychiatric patients. I followed their trail to discover the lives of people that used to have love, friends and family, as well as plans for the future.
I published my first book in 2014, a non-fictional account of the lives of sons and daughters of former soldiers from the Portuguese colonial war, Pai, tiveste medo? (Father, were you afraid).The stories detail the different ways each child continues to complete the war memories passed on by their parents. The book has since then been included in the Portuguese National Reading Program, which means that a group of experts decided that school children should read it to gain a better understand this part of contemporary Portuguese History.
In 2018 I published my second book that publicly adresses for the first time the harsh reality of the African children Portuguese soldiers left behind during the Portuguese Colonial War (that took place between 1961 and 1975 in Angola, Mozambique and Guinea-Bissau). More than forty years after the end of the war many of these men and women continue searching for their fathers. “To stop feeling like half a person.” The book is called Furriel não é nome de pai-Os Filhos que os militares portugueses deixaram na Guerra Colonial (Quartermaster is not a father’s name-The children Portuguese soldiers left in the Colonial War).
There came a time when I wanted to tell the story about a woman that many thought was mad, because she spent her life believing she was an opera diva. I wrote a feature on her life and ended up co-authoring a TV documentary script on this deluded woman (Natália, The Tragicomic Diva), aired on national RTP2.
In 2002/2003 I put my job on hold to go to London to think about Journalism from the outside, it was there I took my Masters in Media and Communication at the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Throughout my career some of my long-form journalistic work has received several national awards, among them is the Gazeta Award Multimedia (2014), the AMI-Journalism Against Indifference Award (2015) and the Literary Award Orlando Gonçalves (2016). I’ve been a world finalist for the Gabriel Garcia Marquez Journalism Award for two consecutive years (2014 and 2015), in the text category. In 2015 I received the International Journalism King of Spain Award.