Rui Couceiro was born in Porto, in 1984. He holds a degree in Social Communication, a Master’s degree in Communication Sciences and a postgraduate degree in Cultural Studies. He is proud to have grown up with skinned knees in the coastal town of Espinho. He was a national volleyball champion at all levels and considers the sport his most important school. During his adolescence, he decided that he wanted to be a journalist, and at fifteen began an eight-year journey on a local radio station. Following an internship in television he worked for the main news agency in the country, until he realized, in 2006, that journalism wasn’t for him after all, but rather backed himself on another passion – books. He was communication advisor and cultural coordinator at Porto Editora, the largest Portuguese publishing company, for ten years, until he took on the role of publisher at Bertrand in 2016, also part of the Porto Editora Group. There he successfully created the non-fiction imprint Contraponto, which led to his recent rise as one of the most recognized publishers in the country. In recent years, he has resumed his collaboration with the media: first, as co-author of a radio program about books and, currently, as a columnist in the press. Since 2021, he has been a member of the Cultural Council of the Eça de Queiroz Foundation (Eça de Queiroz, 1845-1900, one of the greatest Portuguese writers of all time). He abandoned a doctoral thesis in Cultural Studies to write his first novel.
The ineffable atmosphere of Santa Maddalena was quickly ingrained in my soul and allowed me to do what I wanted the most: to write, without other obligations or interruptions. At the Santa Maddalena Foundation, between walls from the time of Dante and paintings by Miró, I wrote several dozen pages, while a mulberry tree slowly undressed in front of me. But the best of all was what I could hear. After the departure of her husband, Gregor von Rezorri, Baroness Beatrice Monti della Corte circumvented loneliness in an original way, surrounding herself with writers – friendship as the only force capable of mitigating the attack perpetrated by fate on the love she had lived, friendship as a response to loneliness, new relationships as a solution to loss. This new modus vivendi generated unforgettable episodes and unique stories involving eccentric and unrepeatable creatures. What better source for an author thirsty for writing, naturally curious and taking his first steps?
I am very grateful to Beatrice for the invitation and immensely happy to have been able to admire her contagious talent for life. The Portuguese poet Alexandre O’Neill wrote a remarkable poem that begins with two verses that portray what I felt the moment I sat down to talk to her: “As soon as we met / We inaugurated the word «friend»”. That’s what I felt. Many thanks also to Naila, Edoardo, Rasika and Manju – we also inaugurated the word «friend».
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