ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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A World Written by Ghosts

The crisis in literature and the arts in Portugal points to the disconnect between transmission of knowledge and reality.

In a time of massive transmission of written knowledge through virtual connectivity, creative writing has become a precious tool to make one’s voice heard louder. Writers from all types and genres are being invited to write not only in their own name but also in the names of others, to create speeches, presentations and all types of texts in order to constantly rewrite the tendencies of our major political, corporate and financial powers.

Curiously enough, literature has become more difficult to publish, more inaccessible, less easy to buy, less promoted by the media and, above all, less read. Publications continue to rise in numbers. In Portugal, for example, around 22 books are published each day by commercial publishing houses alone, averaging 8,000 books a year. Nonetheless, and despite the promising “wonder fiction land” that both television and the mass media project, only an average of two dozen new books by Portuguese-speaking writers are published in Portugal each year. On the other hand, self-help books (“How to impress your boss”, “How to lose weight”, “How to make your first million”) are on the top of the 50 most-sold books of the year. (The notable exceptions are 50 Shades of Grey by E L James, and one or two historical novels of the Dan Brown variety, written by well-known TV news anchors.) Fictional literature is scanty and poetry accounts for a mere 0.002% of the literature read all over Europe.

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