A trip that Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen made to Portugal more than 150 years ago is this week the focus of an international conference taking place in Sintra, near Lisbon, attended by researchers and experts on a man who is one of the most famous authors of literature for children of all time.
The meeting began on Wednesday with a reception for participants, but most of the work takes place in Thursday and Friday, with debates on travel literature in general, on Hans Christian Andersen in particular, and on the three months he spent in Portugal in 1866.
A tour is also planned of Sintra, one of the places that the author referred to in his travel diary on the country, which was published in book form with the title "A visit to Portugal".
Among those attending the conference are Jacob Boggild of the Hans Christian Andersen Centre at the University of Southern Denmark in Odense, Lourenço de Almeida of Portugal's Centro Nacional de Cultura, Ana Paiva Morais of Lisbon's Universidade Nova, and Victor Eleutério, author of the book "Os meses portugueses de Hans Christian Andersen" (The Portuguese months of Hans Christian Andersen) which is to be launched at the conference.
Andersen was born in Odense on 2 April de 1805 and died in Copenhagen on 4 August 1875.
He is seen as one of the world's leading writers of books for children and young people, with adaptations of stories drawn from oral tradition and texts of his own devising that incorporate universal and timeless themes. Since 1967 International Children's Book Day has been celebrated on 2 April, Andersen's birthday.
However, he also published novels, poetry and travel writing.
In 1866 the author spent some time in Portugal, from May to August that year. He is known to have visited Lisbon, Setúbal, Aveiro, Coimbra and Sintra, which he described as "incomparable".