Gringa Reads

Prize Round-Up 2017

AwardsZoe PerryComment

This year's Jabuti prize winners were announced last night, wrapping up an active award season in Brazil.


Two general observations about this year: 1) there's a wider diversity of publishers represented, instead of Companhia das Letras and their myriad (and marvelous) imprints sweeping all categories, and 2) unlike in years past, there is very little overlap across lists, with not all the same titles pleasing all juries.

The one exception is Machado by Silviano Santiago, a fictionalized account of Machado de Assis' final years. It nabbed top honors for the Jabuti, 2nd place in the Oceanos, and was a finalist for the Prêmio São Paulo, making it this year's most favored book by the juries. Santiago also won the Oceanos in 2015 for his last novel, Mil rosas roubadas.


Outros Cantos by Maria Valéria Rezende, Brazil's favorite radical, writing nun also fared well, winning the Prêmio São Paulo and coming in 3rd in the Novel category for the Jabuti. It was also among the long-list of 51 semifinalists for the Oceanos. Loosely based on her own life experiences, Rezende's latest book tells the story of a nun who sacrificed her own life in the pursuit of the greater good, traveling all over Brazil and the world teaching. Rezende won the Jabuti in 2015 for her novel Quarenta Dias. She is also a prolific author of children's books, and has been a finalist for the Jabuti in that category three times.




2017 Jabuti Winners:


After nabbing nearly all the awards a few years ago with her novel Opisanie swiata, the multi-talented Veronica Stigger seemingly returns to her short fiction roots with Sul, taking top prize in the Short Stories category. Her latest book, published by the fantastic Editora 34, is in fact a stunning exercise in genre, and contains three distinct texts: a short story, a short play and a narrative poem.

  • Book of the Year, Fiction: Machado by Silviano Santiago (Companhia das Letras)
  • Novel: Machado by Silviano Santiago (Companhia das Letras)
  • Short Stories and Essay/Cronicas: Sul by Veronica Stigger (Editora 34)
  • Poetry: Quase Todas as Noites by Simone Brantes (7letras)

2017 Oceanos Winners:


This year the Oceanos changed its rules slightly and opened the prize up to books published in Portuguese from anywhere in the world, not just in Brazil. Previously any author writing in Portuguese could win, but the book had to have been published in Brazil. This exposed some curious cracks in the Portuguese-language publishing world: out of the 31 Brazilian semifinalists, 30 hadn't been published in Portugal and not one of the 19 Portuguese semifinalists was available in Brazil, most notably the winner, Karen by Ana Teresa Pereira.

  • 1st: Karen by Ana Teresa Pereira (Relógio D’Água)
  • 2nd: Machado by Silviano Santiago (Companhia das Letras)
  • 3rd: O Golpe de Teatro by Helder Moura Pereira (Assírio e Alvim)
  • Tying for 4th: Anunciações by Maria Teresa Horta (Dom Quixote), and Simpatia pelo Demônio by Bernardo Carvalho (Companhia das Letras).

2017 Prêmio São Paulo Winners:


As in years past several winners of the SESC Prize, awarded to previously unpublished authors, were also recognized by the larger prizes, but particularly the Prêmio São Paulo. Maurício de Almeida and Franklin Carvalho were both launched onto the market by the SESC prize in 2016.

  • Novel of the Year: Outros Cantos by Maria Valéria Rezende (Alfaguara)
  • Novel by Debut Author over 40: Céus e Terras by Franklin Carvalho (Record)
  • Novel by Debut Author under 40: A Instrução da Noite by Maurício de Almeira (Rocco)

2017 Biblioteca Nacional Winners:

  • Short Stories: Ferrugem by Marcelo Moutinho (Record).
  • Novel: Descobri que Estava Morto by João Paulo Cuenca (Tusquets). Cuenca's The Only Happy Ending for a Love Story is an Accident, tr. by Elizabeth Lowewas published by Tagus in 2013.
  • Poetry: A Idolatria Poética ou a Febre de Imagens by Sérgio Medeiros (Iluminuras).

It's worth noting that each prize has slightly different rules regarding publication dates, and this year the Biblioteca Nacional looked at books published in 2017, while the Jabuti, Oceanos and Prêmio São Paulo focused on those published in 2016, so we may well see one or all of these titles celebrated again next year.