Awarded the Camões Prize, the Portuguese language’s highest literary award, for his life’s work, Pepetela is the author of twenty-one novels that have won prizes in Holland, Spain, Portugal, Brazil, and Angola and which have been published in more than twenty languages.

Born in Benguela, Angola, he fled Portugal as a student and studied in Algeria, where he wrote a literacy manual that won a prize from UNESCO. From 1969 to 1975, Pepetela fought as an MPLA guerrilla, seeing front-line service against the armies of Portugal and apartheid South Africa, as well as rival rebel groups. After Angolan independence, he was deputy minister of education (1976–82) and taught sociology at Agostinho Neto University (1984–2008).

Pepetela lives in Luanda, Angola.