RICHARD ZENITH was born in the United States in 1956. He has lived for many years in Portugal, where he works as a writer, researcher and translator of poetry. He is known in particular for his work on Fernando Pessoa, many of whose unpublished writings he has transcribed from the manuscripts and brought into print. Zenith’s numerous editions of Pessoa’s poetry and prose include Livro do desassossego (The Book of Disquiet; Assírio & Alvim, 1998) and a seven-volume Obra essencial de Fernando Pessoa (Círculo de Leitores, 2006-07). His translations from Pessoa’s work include Fernando Pessoa & Co – Selected Poems (Grove Press, 1998), which won the 1999 PEN Award for Poetry in Translation; The Book of Disquiet (Penguin, 2001) and A Little Larger Than the Entire Universe: Selected Poems (Penguin, 2006). Zenith spent over ten years researching and writing Pessoa: A Biography (Liveright/Norton, 2021).
Richard Zenith learned Portuguese in Brazil and rendered into English two of the country’s greatest poets, João Cabral de Melo Neto (Education by Stone: Selected Poems, Archipelago, 2005; winner of the 2006 Harold Morton Landon Translation Award) and Carlos Drummond de Andrade (Multitudinous Heart: Selected Poems, FSG/Penguin, 2015).
Zenith has also translated the Galician-Portuguese troubadours (with the support of a Guggenheim Fellowship), Luís de Camões, Sophia de Mello Breyner and many living poets. In 2012 he received the prestigious Pessoa Prize, awarded annually to an individual who has made a significant and innovative contribution to Portugal’s artistic, literary or scientific life.