Gringa Reads

2015 Prize Roundup & New 'Machado de Assis' Issue

Awards, NewsZoe PerryComment

The first ever winners of the new (to us) Oceanos Prize were awarded December 8. Novelist, essayist and critic, Silviano Santiago, took top honors for his novel Mil rosas roubadas (A Thousand Stolen Roses), published by Companhia das Letras. 

Second prize went to Elvira Vigna, for Por escrito (In Writing), also published by Companhia das Letras. You can read an excerpt on the author's own website, translated by David Lehmann. Or, if you can get your hands on a copy of this summer's Wasafiri Brazilian issue, there's a lovely selection, translated by Lucy Greaves. Listen to her read it here

Alberto Mussa, took third prize, with A primeira história do mundo (Record), and Glauco Mattoso, came in fourth with Saccola de feira (NVersos).

The São Paulo prize, one of my favorites, announced the 2015 winners on November 30. Some very cool trivia this year: none of the three winners are from São Paulo. They are all originally from the Brazilian Northeast. 

Estevão Azevedo won best novel of the year for Tempo de espalhar pedras (Time to Cast Away Stones), published by Cosac Naify. You can read a sample, translated by Lucy Greaves, in Issue 6 of Machado de Assis magazine. 

For the debut author prizes, Micheliny Verunschk won in the over 40 category, for her book Nossa Teresa – Vida e morte de uma santa suicida (Patuá), and Débora Ferraz, won in the under 40 category, for her novel Enquanto Deus não está olhando (While God's Not Looking), published by RecordRead a sample, also translated by Lucy Greaves, in the latest issue of Machado de Assis (more on that below). Débora previously won the Sesc Literature Prize in 2014 for the same novel. 

Maria Valéria Rezende: award-winning author, Catholic nun, educator, political activist and total badass.

Maria Valéria Rezende: award-winning author, Catholic nun, educator, political activist and total badass.

2015 Jabuti prize winners were announced on November 19, with the awards ceremony held December 3. In the Novel category, Maria Valéria Rezende (pictured to the right) beat out popular favorites Chico Buarque and Cristovão Tezza, with her book Quarenta dias (Forty Days), published by Alfaguara. She's a fiesty nun, with a fascinating history of political and social activism. I did a little fist pump in the air when I heard.

João Anzanello Carrascoza took second place, with his achingly beautiful book Caderno de um ausente (Cosac Naify) and Evandro Afonso Ferreira earned third place honors, with Os piores dias de minha vida foram todos (Record). You can read the first chapter of Ferreira's newest novel, translated by me, in Pessoa's special Contemporary Brazilian Literature issue.

This was not Rezende's first rodeo; she won a Jabuti twice before, for the children's and young adult categories, in 2009 and 2013. Ferreira won the Jabuti in 2013, with O Mendigo que Sabia de Cor os Adágios de Erasmo de Rotterdam (Record).

For poetry, this year's winner was Alexandre Guarnieri, for Corpo de Festim (Confraria do Vento). Second and third place went to Marco Lucchesi for Clio (Globo) and Manoel Herzog for A Comedia de Alissia Bloom (Patuá). 

Can't wait to get your hands on some new-ish Brazilian writing in English? Brazil's National Library Foundation put out another issue of their Machado de Assis magazine (number 7) just in time for the Guadalajara Book Fair, on December 3. The issue contains work by 21 authors (of a total of 76 submissions), with four in Spanish and 17 in English.

Oh so conveniently for this post, the issue includes a sample from Débora Ferraz's São Paulo prize-winning book While God's Not Looking (tr. by Lucy Greaves). There are also a couple of samples translated by me, from Lust by Fernando Bonassi, and from Marcos Peres' detective novel, Whatever Happened to Juliana Klein?.

You can download other texts (or the entire issue) here, or check out previous issues here

And finally, as an extra sweet bonus, since I don't usually get to talk this much about Brazilian literature in translation, PEN America just released their 2016 translation prize long lists and I was delighted to see two very deserving Brazilian representatives. Rilke Shake by Angélica Freitas and translated by Hilary Kaplan (published by Phoneme Media) is in the running for the PEN Award for Poetry in Translation. Go buy this book! Angélica, Hilary and Phoneme are all on my list of people I think are brilliant.

And The Complete Stories by Clarice Lispector, translated by Katrina Dodson (published by New Directions) is up for the PEN Translation Prize for prose. If you're reading this blog, there's little chance you missed this one, but it's such an important work to have in English, a labor of love for an incredible writer (and that cover's damn sexy, too).