Hélia Correia was born in 1949 in the village near Lisbon that inspired Saramago’s book about the building of the Mafra Monastery. She grew up under Salazar’s dictatorship and her father, an antifascist fighter, spent some time in prison. Her mother’s family came from the country and had a very close affiliation to religion and popular traditions. She spent a large part of her life at the homes of her mother’s brothers, which left a lasting effect on her imagination and has long been the main source of inspiration for her books. She later moved to Lisbon, where she studied for a degree in Romanic Philology, and became a teacher. At the age of 18 she began publishing in literary newspapers and poetry anthologies. A while later, she had her first novel published.

Hélia Correia Montedomo Book Cover
​ Hélia Correia, 'Montedemo' Book Cover ​

Her latest novel, Adoecer, is about Elizabeth Siddal, Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s talented and unhappy wife. She also wrote theatre plays in which the Greek myth of female heroines is reinterpreted: Antigone in Perdition, Helen of Troy in Hatred and Medea in Boundless. This theme is repeated in her collection of children’s books, in which Tiresias’s grandson, Mopsos, takes part in the main narratives about Greek classic civilization. She has also translated and adapted Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Tempest for a children’s performance at the Lisbon National Theatre. Hélia Correia lives in Lisbon and writes full-time.


Compiled by Ana Raquel Fernandes (Lisbon)

Interviews/in the Media

Helia Correia reads from Adoecer (Coffin trust Reading given on 7 May 2011) available online at https://www.sas.ac.uk/videos-and-podcasts/culture-language-and-literature/helia-correia-reading-her-latest-book-adoecer