The Portuguese Society of Authors celebrates today 95 years of existence but, due to the imposition of the pandemic, it does so without an audience and without events, hoping that better days will come, with health and confidence.
Never before have the Portuguese authors faced such a severe situation of deprivation and painful uncertainty about the future in many decades.
SPA did everything in its power to respond to the crisis, immediately placing a sum of 100 000 euros at the service of the cooperators, acquiring more than a thousand cirurgical masks and a ventilator, creating a prize for technological creativity and dialoguing with the President of the Republic, the government and other entities in the sector. The great urgency was to guarantee financial availability for the payment of salaries and to reinforce solidarity with the authors, as this is the institution’s great strategic priority at this dramatic time.
Much more will be done as we hope that the much antecipated return to normality will once again provide places and audiences for creators and artists to carry out their work. However, as expected, the entire cultural agenda of our cooperative has been postponed or canceled, namely our annual gala at CCB, which will also have an expression in the management of the company with measures to be announced in due time, being sure that we are serving most with the means at our disposal.
Having great international responsibilities, SPA maintains and honors its commitments, knowing that its sister societies face similar difficulties and that no one yet knows what European cultural life will be like in the near future, as well as the lives of authors and artists. After times of absence come those of a long and arduous uncertainty, accompanied by a visible and unavoidable question mark.
Therefore, today’s celebration that should bring us together is, above all, a time for reflection and mobilization of energies for the combats to come.
The cooperative’s workers, first on a telework regime and now progressively returning to their roles and responsibilities, have been up to the challenge, also because they know that the sustainability of their jobs depends on this attitude as well as SPA’s ability of intervention as the home of authors and for the authors.
Today there were no Medals of Honor, Author Awards or other important distinctions, but we had a day’s work with dedication and competence every hour. The changes to be made will strengthen the cooperative of Portuguese authors whose future must also take into account the inevitable consequences of the current adversity.
We have created the conditions for a distribution in June that measures up to the expectations and needs of the authors and that reflects mostly the work carried out in 2019, seeking now the essential conditions of sustainability. With 26 000 associates, eight delegations and more than 160 workers, SPA will know how to live up to its responsibilities and duties.
As responsible for a vast team and representative of SPA on the Board of the European Group of Societies of Authors in Brussels, I know that we will do everything in our power so that culture does not stop playing a central role in our economic, social and spiritual life, not allowing our combative unity to be defeated by the wounds that the pandemic has left open and that only time, work and collective trust will be able to heal. Other dates and events will come to be celebrated with dignity and to keep us active in the name of what is always greatly expected of us and that we owe to Portugal and the Portuguese.
Lisbon, May 22, 2020
José Jorge Letria
President and CEO
and the President of the Board of Directors of SPA