Gringa Reads

Semi-Finalists Announced for 2015 Oceanos Prize

Awards, NewsZoe PerryComment

It's an exciting day! The folks at Itaú Cultural have just released the list of semi-finalists for the new (but sort of old) Prêmio Oceanos. You may remember I posted awhile ago that this new prize will take the place of the prestigious Portugal Telecom Prize for Literature. The complete list of 63 nominees (of which 18 women), selected from over 600 submissions, is available online, but here are some highlights, including a few writers I've featured on the blog (as well as some I've had the pleasure of translating).

I was delighted to see both Sérgio Y. Vai à América by Alexandre Vidal Porto and As Fantasias Eletivas by Carlos Henrique Schroeder, both reviewed here about one year ago. The former will be published in English as Sergio Y. by Europa Editions, tr. Alex Ladd, due out May 2016. Alexandre also has a short story, which will debut at the Boston Book Fair next month in a collection organized by Revista Pessoa, translated by me. And Carlos has a new novel, História da Chuva, due out in October!

In the novel category, several high-profile Brazilian authors were named, including Luiz Ruffato, for Flores Artificiais, Sérgio Sant'Anna, for O Homem-Mulher, Adriana Lisboa, for Parte da paisagem and Chico Buarque, for O Irmão Alemão.

But there are also a lot of really great, feisty newcomers and young things, such as Luisa Geisler, for Luzes de Emergência Se Acenderão AutomaticamenteSimone Campos for A Vez de Morrer, and Antonio Xerxenesky, for F (a book I LOVED last year and am long overdue in posting a review).

Many of the writers have also had recent-ish English translations (in addition to Adriana Lisboa, Luiz Ruffato and Chico Buarque above): Socorro Acioli's Head of the Saint, translated by Daniel Hahn; Carola Saavedra's (nominated for O Inventário das Coisas Ausentes) novel Blue Flowers, also translated by Daniel Hahn, should be coming out sometime soon; Alberto Mussa's (nominated for A Primeira História do Mundo) The Mystery of Rio, translated by Alex Ladd, was published last year; Bernardo Kucinski's (nominated for Alice, Não Mais que de repenteK, translated by Sue Branford was shortlisted for the 2015 IMPAC Dublin Award; and Cristovão Tezza (who will be at this year's Flipside, nominated for O Professor) – his novel Eternal Son, translated by Alison Entrekin, was also an IMPAC Dublin finalist, in 2012.

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Of course, it's not just for novels. Vanessa Bárbara's hilariously brilliant collection of crónicas, O Louco da Palestra is nominated. I love this book, but as I know this genre isn't always an easy sell to the English-language market, I would suggest publishers have a look at her equally brilliant novel, Operação Impensável (Operation Unthinkable), which won the Prêmio Paraná last year. She was one of Granta's Best Young Brazilian Writers and is also a regular contributor to the New York Times.

And for reasons I don't quite understand, the spreadsheet of semifinalists includes a column for genre, with Novel, Short Story, Poetry, Prose Poetry, Crónica, and then some unusually specific categories, such as "Angolan Novel", "Portuguese Travel Writing" and "Angolan Short Story". Vai entender.