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.

Prêmio São Paulo – 2016 Finalists Announced

AwardsZoe PerryComment

Last week the list of finalists for the 2016 Prêmio São Paulo was announced, and boy is it a good one! Out of 175 total entries – roughly 10% fewer than last year – across three categories, this year's crop of twenty finalists represent ten Brazilian states, and one non-Brazilian writer is in the running: heavy-weight Mia Couto, from Mozambique. All books were published in 2015.

The Prêmio São Paulo, inspired by the Man Booker, is Brazil's biggest award in terms of prize money, with BRL 200,000 going to the winner of the Best Book category, and BRL 100,000 each for the two debut-author categories: Under 40 and Over 40. I love this prize, because I think it does a great job of promoting new authors of all ages, as well as small, indy publishers.

Once again, I'm not aware of any of these books being translated to English, or any English translations in the works. 

Winners will be announced in October! 


Beatriz Bracher – Anatomia do Paraíso (Editora 34)

João Almino – Enigmas da Primavera (Record)

Julián Fúks – A Resistência (Companhia das Letras)

Marcelo Rubens Paiva – Ainda Estou Aqui (Alfaguara)

Mia Couto – Mulheres de Cinzas – As Areias do Imperador (Companhia das Letras)

Nei Lopes – Rio Negro, 50 (Record)

Noemi Jaffe – Írisz: As Orquídeas (Companhia das Letras)

Paula Fábrio – Um Dia Toparei Comigo (Foz)

Raimundo Carrero – O Senhor Agora Vai Mudar de Corpo (Record)

Santana Filho – A Casa das Marionetes (Reformatório)




Eda Nagayama – Desgarrados (Cosac Naify)

Marcelo Maluf – A Imensidão Íntima dos Carneiros (Reformatório)

Robertson Frizero – Longe das Aldeias (Dublinense – Terceiro Selo)



Alex Sens – O Frágil Toque dos Mutilados (Autêntica)

Isabela Noronha – Resta Um (Companhia das Letras)

Julia Dantas – Ruína y Leveza (Não Editora)

Rafael Gallo – Rebentar (Record)

Sheyla Smanioto – Desesterro (Record)

Tércia Montenegro – Turismo Para Cegos (Companhia das Letras)

Tomas Rosenfeld – Para Não Dizer Que Não Falei de Flora (7 Letras)

Brazilian Lit, Out and About in the World – Recent(ish) News

Events, Awards, NewsZoe PerryComment

Two upcoming international events featuring Brazilian writers in translation and a possible Brazilian Nobel win?

Lygia Fagundes Telles

Something that had Brazilian social media all aflutter back in February was the announcement that beloved author Lygia Fagundes Telles had been nominated by the União Brasileira de Escritores (Brazilian Writer's Union) for the Nobel Prize. A member of the Brazilian Academy of Letters since 1985 (one of only three female members), she was awarded the prestigious Camões prize (awarded to an author in the Portuguese language for the entirety of their work) in 2005, and has twice won the Jabuti. If she does manage to win (and for various reasons I don't believe she will… this year), she would be the first Brazilian to receive the award.

Though her writing is often labeled more accessible or mainstream than theirs, she was a close friend of both Clarice Lispector and Hilda Hilst. She's published nearly 30 books, but her most famous novel is As Meninas (published in English in 2012 by Dalkey Archive as The Girl in the Photographtr. Margaret Neves). As far as I know that's the only book of hers that's made it into English, but I've heard Dalkey is sitting on the English rights to several others). Here's a great interview with her (no subtitles, unfortunately) that contains some real gems. She's the smart, sassy, classy Paulista grandmother I've always wanted!

Printemps Littéraire Brésilien

In its third year, the "Printemps Littéraire Brésilien" will once again be celebrating contemporary Brazilian literature at the Sorbonne from March 21 to 31. The event brings 30 Brazilian authors, illustrators, poets, filmmakers, cartoonists, playwrights and storytellers to Paris for readings, panel discussions and workshops on children's and YA literature. There will also be parallel events at universities in Leiden, Berlin, and at the Bologna Book Fair.

Here's the complete list of delegates:

Lúcia Hiratsuka, Roger Mello, Roberto Parmeggiani, Jessé Andarilho, Henrique Rodrigues, Marcello Quintanilha, Paula Anacaona, Marcelo D’Salete, Claudia Nina, Lucrécia Zappi, Lúcia Bettencourt, Paloma Vidal, Krishna Monteiro, Miguel Sanches Neto, Mário Araujo, Alexandre Vidal Porto, Godofredo de Oliveira Neto, Paula Fábrio, João Guilhoto, Andrea Nunes, Márcio Benjamin, Ieda de Oliveira, Felipe Franco Munhoz, Maurício Vieira, Flávio Goldmann, Jéferson Assumção, Susana Fuentes, Kátia Gerlach, Eunice Gutman, Mariza Baur, Patrícia Melo, Antonio Salvador, Camila Gonzatto, Caio Yurgel.

PEN World Voices Festival

Alexandre Vidal Porto will be at the 2016 World Voices Festival, where he will be in conversation with Saleem Haddad and Abdellah Taïa in a panel called "The Fictional Other", on Saturday, April 30. The English translation of his book Sergio Y. will be out in May, published by Europa Editions and translated by Alex Ladd.

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). 


Updates, thoughts and things to come

Lists, New Books, News, AwardsZoe PerryComment

Frankfurt Book Fair has come and gone, and the number of Brazilian writers invited could be counted on one hand. I had intended to do a longer write-up about this, but to be honest, my feelings of frustration and disappointment surrounding certain things going on in Brazil at the moment, both politically and economically, have reached such numbing levels that I just don't have it in me. Instead, I'm going to plug the incredible authors who did go to Frankfurt. What the delegation lacked in size, they more than served up in literary prowess.

Noemi Jaffe recently published the incredible novel, Irisz: as orquídeas (Irisz: Orchids). The year isn't over yet, but I already know this is my favorite book of 2015. Review soon to come.

Check out the gorgeous cover of Fernando Bonassi's new book, Luxúria (Lust). I recently did a sample from this book, and will be putting together a review soon.

Ricardo Lísias, one of Granta's best young Brazilian writers, was also there. You can read more about him here. Lísias is the current Writer-in-Residence at the Department of Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies at the University College London (UCL). If you happen to be in London, he will speaking at the Brazilian Embassy with Francisco Vilhena, editorial assistant at Granta, on Thursday, December 3, 2015 at 6pm. More info here.

Luis Krausz was invited as a translator, but he's a talented author in his own right. His second novel, Deserto (The Desert/Deserted) won the Benvirá prize. It's a lovely book that I'm long overdue in reviewing here.

I'd also like to note the three Brazilian editors invited, representing the best and brightest in indy publishing in Brazil: Raquel Menezes (Oficina de Raquel), Cide Piquet (Editora 34) and William Oliveira (Apicuri). One of the most delightful memories of my residency this past July was the rainy afternoon I spent hanging out in the Editora 34 offices in São Paulo. They are doing amazing, inspiring things and have an incredible list.

Brazil had just a slightly smaller showing at the Boston Book Festival, where Pessoa magazine launched the English version of their special issue (originally released in French at the Paris Book Fair) of translated contemporary Brazilian literature, with work by 25 authors from across the country in prose, poetry, children's lit and theater. Writers include: Alexandre Vidal Porto, Evandro Affonso Ferreira (both translated by me), Elvira Vigna, Andrea Del Fuego, Jacques Fux, Alexandre Staut, Luisa Geisler, Amilcar Bettega, Luci Collin, Ana Martins Marques, Adriana Lisboa, Eucanaã Ferraz, Alice Sant’Anna, Nuno Ramos, Mariana Ianelli, Dora Ribeiro, Moacir Amâncio, Ana Elisa Ribeiro, Alberto Bresciani, Daniel Munduruku, Cintia Moscovich, Lúcia Hiratsuka, Maria Valéria Rezende and Paula Autran. Alexandre Vidal Porto, Luisa Geisler and Nuno Ramos were all in Boston for the launch, where they participated in a roundtable discussion. 

And, the Guadalajara International Book Fair rolls around at the end of this month. After sending sizable delegations in recent years, I'm finding it impossible to locate any information about this year's authors from Brazil. Is no one going? Have they just not announced the names yet (never outside the realm of possibilities)? If anyone has any information, please let me know.

The Brazilian National Library just announced the winners of their 2015 awards, in Poetry, Novel, Short Story, Translation, Graphic Design, Young Adult, Children's, Literary Essay and Social Essay.  Indy publishing was in the spotlight, with only three winners published by one of the big houses.

The winner of the Best Novel prize was the amazing Turismo para cegos (Tourism for the Blind) by Tércia Montenegro, published by Companhia das Letras. This book is definitely in my top three of 2015. Review coming soon.

Finally, I want to mention a few other brand new releases I'm excited about. My favorite, Lourenço Mutarelli, has just published his first novel since 2010's A Arte de Fazer Efeito sem Causa O Grifo de Abdera (The Griffin of Abdera), which blends straight prose with graphic novel. I haven't read it yet, but it looks to be his best and most ambitious work, and impressive experiment, yet.

Other upcoming reviews are new books by two writers from Granta's Best Young Writers: A Resistencia (Resistance) by the immensely talented Julian Fuks and Operação Impensável (Operation Unthinkable) by the hilariously sharp Vanessa Barbara. I recently did samples for both of these and fell hard for them in the process.

Prêmio São Paulo 2015 Finalists Announced

AwardsZoe PerryComment

Finalists for this year's Prêmio São Paulo have just been announced. 21 books, out of a total of 215 submissions (all originally published in 2014), were selected by a 10-member jury in three categories: Novel of the Year, Best Novel by a Debut Author (under 40) and Best Novel by a Debut Author (over 40).

Ten states are represented, with the typical strong showing from the South: Rio de Janeiro (6), Rio Grande do Sul (2), Santa Catarina (1), São Paulo (2), Paraná (1), Pernambuco (2), Espírito Santo (1), Minas Gerais (4), Rio Grande do Norte (1) and Ceará (1).

There are only two women up for Book of the Year (20%), but women are a whopping six out of seven for the over-40 debut author list, and two out of four of the under-40 list.

And, as far as I know, only ONE of these has been published in English so far, Socorro Acioli's The Head of the Saint, translated by Daniel Hahn, and published last year in the UK by Hot Key, and next year in the US by Delacorte.

Of course, no Brazilian literary award is ever without its own drama. Something unusual, but not unheard of, was that even though jurors could select up to 10 finalists for each of the categories, this year there are only seven for Debut Author over 40, and a mere four from the under-40 pool. All jurors asses every book, assigning each a score from one to five. If the total is less than 30, the book doesn't move on. I'm reminded of an interview with Lygia Fagundes Telles in which she said "a pouca idade não justifica um mau livro". In any case, you can be sure of the quality of every book on the list:


  • Alberto Mussa - "A Primeira História do Mundo"
  • Antônio Xerxenesky - "F"
  • Chico Buarque - "O Irmão Alemão"
  • Cristovão Tezza - "O Professor"
  • Estevão Azevedo - "Tempo de Espalhar Pedras"
  • Evandro Affonso Ferreira - "Os Piores Dias da Minha Vida Foram Todos"
  • Heloisa Seixas - "O Oitavo Selo"
  • João Anzanello Carrascoza - "Caderno de um Ausente"
  • Silviano Santiago - "Mil Rosas Roubadas"
  • Socorro Acioli - "A Cabeça de Santo" 


  • Eliana Cardoso - "Bonecas Russas"
  • Elisa Lucinda - "O Cavaleiro do Nada, Fernando Pessoa"
  • Heliete Vaitsman - "O Cisne e o Aviador"
  • Micheliny Verunschk - "Nossa Teresa - Vida e Morte de uma Santa Suicida"
  • Míriam Leitão - "Tempos Extremos"
  • Rodrigo Garcia Lopes - "O Trovador"
  • Vanessa Maranha - "Contagem Regressiva"


  • André Viana - "O Doente"
  • Caio Yurgel - "Samba em Mim"
  • Débora Ferraz - "Enquanto Deus Não Está Olhando"
  • Mariana Portella - "O Outro da Sombra"

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.


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.

June 2015 Updates

Awards, NewsZoe PerryComment

Hello from rainy São Paulo! Today is the first day of my three-week translation residency, sponsored by the British Council and in partnership with the British Centre for Literary Translation and the Paraty International Literary Festival, or FLIP. In addition to cranking out many more pages of my current translation project, Opisanie Swiata by Veronica Stigger (available for publication!) and attending FLIP in Paraty, one of my favorite places, I will be meeting with various publishers, editors, writers and agents in São Paulo and Rio.

I've also been invited to participate in three events, which I'll tell you more about shortly, but first…


I am absolutely thrilled to announce that my translation of Opisanie Swiata was selected for a 2015 PEN/Heim grant! From the press release:

Zoë Perry for Opisanie Świata, the award-winning debut novel by Brazilian writer Veronica Stigger. With her exquisite translation, Perry introduces to the English-speaking world a stunning and tantalizing novel by a young writer on the cutting-edge of Brazilian literature. (Available for publication)

"Opalka peered once more over his newspaper and there was the man, now standing, holding a knife in one hand and an apple, like a trophy, in the other. He sat down beside him and, before eating, turned to Opalka and asked him in Polish: May I help you?"

More information about events in Brazil:

São PauloThursday, June 18, 2015, 7pm at Casa Guilherme de Almeida

Panel 1 (Translation Residency Program) - Zoe Perry and Dirceu Villa with Paulo Werneck

Panel 2 (Mentorship Schemes) -Caetano W. Galindo and Cristian Clemente with Alzira Allegro

Rio de Janeiro, Wednesday, June 24, 2015, 6pm at Biblioteca Nacional

Sérgio Rodrigues (author of Elza: The Girl and Drible) and I will be chatting with journalist Rachel Bertol about our work together on Elza.

Paraty, July 2, 2015, 6pm at Centro Cultural SESC Paraty

The amazing Alison Entrekin and I will be talking about translating contemporary Brazilian authors, as part of the programming at the SESC Paraty Cultural Center during the FLIP festival. Alison's translations include Chico Buarque, Adriana Lisboa, Tatiana Salem Levy, Clarice Lispector, Paulo Lins, Cristovão Tezza, and many more.

Full information (in Portuguese) is available here.

New 'Oceanos' Prize

Awards, NewsZoe Perry1 Comment

It was touch and go for awhile, but we can all breathe a sigh of relief now that the Prêmio Portugal Telecom will continue to honor exceptional works of Portuguese-language literature under the new name Oceanos. Portugal Telecom, the telecommunications company that previously sponsored the prize by the same name, was sold to a Luxembourg-based company earlier this year. After the usual dates for submissions came and went, with no open calls or updates to the website, many wondered whether it had been quietly laid to rest. This Tuesday marked the official announcement that the new incarnation, now sponsored by Itaú Cultural, the cultural institution of Itaú Bank, would rise from PT's ashes.


Along with the new name come a few changes to the rules. Taking a more inclusive approach to genre, there will no longer be separate categories for novels, poetry and short stories/crónicas. Before, one winner in each category took home R$50,000 in prize money, and of these top three, the "best book" earned an additional R$50k. Now there will be prize money for the top four entries, all genres piled in together. First prize takes away R$100,000, with R$60k, R$40k and R$30k for second, third and fourth prize.

At the helm will be Selma Caetano (curator of the PT prize for the past 13 years), Noemi Jaffe (award-winning author and critic) and Rodrigo Lacerda (award-winning author, editor and translator of works by Faulkner and Carver, among others) as the three curators of the award. The initial jury of between 100 and 150 members, will be made up of critics, professors, journalists and researchers. After they choose 40 semifinalists, a second jury selects the 12 finalists. The awards ceremony will be in December, in São Paulo.

Below is a list of all the winners of the Portugal Telecom, with those translated to English in italics. Publishers in the US and UK, that means there are eight awesome books right there you should be considering.

  • 2003 - Nove Noites - Bernardo Carvalho (Nine Nights, Vintage, tr. Benjamin Moser) & Pico Na Veia - Dalton Trevisan 2004 - Macau - Paulo Henriques Britto
  • 2005 - Os Lados do Círculo - Amilcar Bettega Barbosa
  • 2006 - Cinzas do Norte - Milton Hatoum (Ashes of the Amazon, Bloomsbury, tr. John Gledson)
  • 2007 - Jerusalém - Gonçalo Tavares
  • 2008 - O Filho Eterno - Cristovão Tezza (Eternal Son, Scribe/Tagus, tr. Alison Entrekin) This one was shortlisted for Int'l IMPAC Dublin Literary Award 2012!
  • 2009 - Ó - Nuno Ramos
  • 2010 - Leite Derramado - Chico Buarque (Spilt Milk, Atlantic, tr.Alison Entrekin)
  • 2011 - Passageiro do Fim do Dia - Rubens Figueiredo
  • 2012 - A Máquina de Fazer Espanhóis - Valter Hugo Mãe
  • 2013 - O Sonâmbulo Amador - José Luiz Passos 2014 - O Drible - Sérgio Rodrigues

So, yeah, that's also a lot of men. I would LOVE to see the first-ever Oceanos prize go to a woman author.

Finalists announced for 2014 Prêmio Jabuti

AwardsZoe PerryComment

Yesterday the CBL (Brazilian Book Chamber) announced the list of ten finalists for each of the 27 categories of the Prêmio Jabuti. It's a big deal! Winners will be announced November 18. Not suprisingly, Brazilian publishing heavy hitters Companhia das Letras, Record and Cosac Naify topped out the list for most books shortlisted.

I won't list all the finalists for each category (which you can find here), but I will highlight the novel category below.

Reprodução (Reproduction) by Bernardo Carvalho (Companhia Das Letras). This book was also shortlisted for the Prêmio São Paulo this year. Bernardo won the Jabuti in 2004 for Mongólia and has also won the Portugal Telecom prize. He will be appearing at the Flipside Festival in a couple of weeks, and you can read an extract of Benjamin Moser's translation of his book Nine Nights here.

A maçã envenenada (The Poison Apple) by Michel Laub (Companhia Das Letras) is the second book in a trilogy that started with Diary of the Fall, translated by Margaret Jull Costa. Michel was one of Granta's Best Young Brazilian Novelists, and he will also be at Flipside.

Opisanie Świata (you're not going to make me translate that title, are you?) by Veronica Stigger (Cosac Naify) is currently topping my "please let me translate this book" list that every translator carries around. I am head over heels for this book. Veronica is the author of Os Anões and I'll have a review of this little Brazilian book with a Polish title in another publication shortly (stay tuned). This book has already won the Brazilian National Library's Machado de Assis prize for best novel and was recently also shortlisted for Prêmio São Paulo.

O drible (The Dribble) by Sérgio Rodrigues (Companhia Das Letras) is racking up yet another nomination, having also been shortlisted for the Prêmio São Paulo. It's already been translated to Spanish (by Juan Pablo Villalobos) and French. Sergio is also the author of Elza: The Girl, translated by me and now available from AmazonCrossing.

Fim (The End) by Fernanda Torres (Companhia Das Letras) blew me away when I read it last year and though I thought it would be snapped up quickly for translation into English, that hasn't happened yet. I've heard everything from "it's too Rio" to "it's not Rio enough". Right. Maybe the Jabuti will be the nudge English-language publishers need to give it another look.

Nossos ossos (Our Bones) by Marcelino Freire (Editora Record) just won the Brazilian National Library's Prêmio Machado de Assis for best novel. Marcelino's already won the Jabuti in the short story category, in 2006 for Contos Negreiros.

Esquilos de Pavlov (Pavlov's Squirrels) by Laura Erber (Editora Objetiva) is the author's first novel (she's published several collections of poetry, including one shortlisted for the Jabuti).

O frio aqui fora (The Cold Out Here) by Flavio Cafiero (Cosac Naify) is another first novel, written by a former product manager.

O evangelho segundo Hitler (The Gospel According to Hitler) by Marcos Peres (Editora Record) is by yet another first-time novelist. It was published by Record after winning the Prêmio Sesc de Literatura last year.

And wrapping up the list is one more first novel, Deserto (Desert) by Luis S. Krausz (Editora Saraiva). Last year the author, who also translates from Hebrew and German, won the 2nd Benvira prize, which seeks out undiscovered Brazilian writers.

Finalists announced for 2014 Prêmio São Paulo de Literatura

Awards, NewsZoe Perry1 Comment

Finalists were just announced for the 2014 Prêmio São Paulo de Literatura, the award's seventh edition. Ten writers are in the running for Best Novel, with a sweet BRL 200,000 prize. The São Paulo prize famously awards debut novelists, and this year seven are competing for a cool BRL 100,000 prize in the over 40 category, and three under 40. All had to be published for the first time in 2013.

Here's the complete list:

Best Novel of 2013

Adriana Lisboa - Hanói

Alberto Martins - Lívia e o cemitério africano

Ana Luisa Escorel - Anel de vidro

Bernardo Carvalho – Reprodução

Carlos de Brito e Mello - A cidade, o inquisidor e os ordinários

Joca Reiners Terron - A tristeza extraordinária do leopardo-das-neves

Marco Lucchesi - O bibliotecário do imperador

Michel Laub - A maçã envenenada

Rodrigo Lacerda - Carlos Lacerda - A República das abelhas

Sérgio Rodrigues - O Drible

Best Novel by a Debut Author (Over 40)

Amilcar Bettega - Barreira

Cadão Volpato - Pessoas que passam pelos sonhos

Marcelino Freire - Nossos ossos

Flavio Cafiero - O frio aqui fora

João Anzanello Carrascoza - Aos 7 e aos 40

Rogerio Pereira - Na Escuridão, amanhã

Verônica Stigger - Opisanie Swiata

Best Novel by a Debut Author (Under 40)

Ieda Magri - Olhos de bicho

Laura Erber - Esquilos de Pavlov

Marcos Peres - O evangelho segundo Hitler

Don't let the name fool you – writers from any state (or country, actually) can enter the competition, as long as the book was written in Portuguese and published first in Brazil. Out of the finalists, seven writers hail from the state of Rio de Janeiro, followed by three from São Paulo, three from Brazil's third point on the literary triangle, Rio Grande do Sul, three from its fellow southern neighbor, Santa Catarina, two from Minas Gerais, one from northeastern Pernambuco and one from Mato Grasso do Sul. 

Big-hitting publisher Companhia das Letras published a total of seven of the finalists. Cosac Naify, publisher of Brazil's prettiest books, in my opinion (some of their cover design eye candy inserted above), has five names on the shortlist.

I'm not aware of any of these books being translated to English currently, but some have been translated into other languages, and several authors have had other works translated to English. In other words, pay attention English-language publishers, and snatch those rights up while you can!

Nominees announced for 2014 Prêmio Portugal Telecom de Literatura

Awards, NewsZoe PerryComment

Nominees were announced yesterday for the 2014 edition of the prestigious Portugal Telecom Prize for Literature. You'll find all 64 nominees on the website, but I wanted to mention a few highlights, including three writers I've had the pleasure of translating.

I was very happy to see Portuguese journalist and author Alexandra Lucas Coelho nominated in the Short Story/Crônica (a type of literary non-fiction) category for her book Viva México, published by Tinta-da-China. This was one of the books we discussed in last fall's And Other Stories Portuguese reading group, and I translated the sample.

Interestingly, out of the 22 finalists in this category, another Portuguese writer, Gonçalo Tavares, was also nominated for his own Mexico-themed work, acollection of short stories entitled Canções mexicanas (Mexican Songs). Brazilian writer Antônio Prata, who will be at Flip in a couple of months, was nominated for his collection of short stories, Nu, de Botas (Naked, in Boots).

In the novel category, several high-profile Brazilian and Portuguese writers were named. Gonçalo Tavares makes a second appearance among the finalists for his novel Matteo perdeu o emprego (Matteo Lost His Job), one of only two Portuguese writers in the list. Sérgio Rodrigues was nominated for O Drible (The Dribble), a book being lauded as Brazil's long-awaited great futebol novelMy translation of another of his novels, Elza: The Girlwill be available in September.

Adriana Lisboa, who appeared last year at Flipsidewas nominated for Hanói, and fellow Flipside participant, Bernardo Carvalho, is in the running with Reprodução (Reproduction). One of my personal favorites, Veronica Stiggerauthor of Os Anões, was nominated for Opisanie swiata. I've been having a hard time getting my hands on a copy of this book, but hope to pick one up soon.

Two finalists I have had in a pile at home but haven't read yet are Divórcio (Divorce) by Ricardo Lísias, one of Granta's top young Brazilian writers, and A tristeza extraordinária do leopardo-das-neves (The Extraordinary Sadness of the Snow Leopard – what a title!) by novelist, poet and playwright, Joca Reiners Terron.

Literary Awards for Portuguese Language Lovers: Prêmio Portugal Telecom de Literatura

Awards, NewsZoe Perry5 Comments

The Prêmio Portugal Telecom de Literatura (Portugal Telecom Prize for Literature) was established in 2003 by Portuguese phone company, Portugal Telecom, and since 2007 it is awarded annually to works of literature from any Portuguese-speaking country. Contrary to what the name may suggest, initially only Brazilian literature was eligible, and the original title of the prize was Prêmio Portugal Telecom de Literatura Brasileira (Portugal Telecom Prize for Brazilian Literature). It's a relatively new kid on the block, but has rapidly become one of the most important literary awards in Brazil, right on par with the Jabuti. Some have even referred to it as the Portuguese-language version of the Booker Prize. There are three categories: novel, poetry and crônicas and short stories. Winners are named for each category, as well as an overall winner from any category. Winners also take home impressive prize money, R$50,000, or over US$20,000.

Last night's winner for 2013 was José Luiz Passos, from the northeastern state of Pernambuco, for his second novel, O Sonâmbulo Amador (The Amateur Sleepwalker), published by Alfaguara. He had some healthy competition, running against Prêmio São Paulo winner Daniel Galera for Barba Ensopada de Sangue (Blood-Drenched Beard), soon to be published in English translation, and Portuguese writer Valter Hugo Mãe, who won the Portugal Telecom prize last year. Cíntia Moscovich won in the short story/crônicas category and Eucanaã Ferraz took top honors for poetry.

Remember Dalton Trevisan, winner of the Prêmio Camões in 2012 and four-time Jabuti winner? He tied for first in 2003 (with Bernardo Carvalho), then placed second in both 2007 and 2012, making him quite possibly Brazil's most-awarded contemporary writer to be totally ignored by English-language publishers. Except for a flurry of work in the seventies, he's barely been touched by translators, in any language. Come on now, publishers.

Finally, I happen to think they have one of the coolest award statues around.



Literary Awards for Portuguese Language Lovers: Prêmio Jabuti

Awards, NewsZoe Perry5 Comments

The Prêmio Jabuti is arguably Brazil's most important literary award, and definitely the most well-known. This year's winners were announced in mid-October. Since its first edition in 1959 several categories have been added and there are currently 29, which cover a variety of formats and genres (including several non-fiction categories and literary criticism) as well as translation, illustration and cover design. Notably, the top awards for fiction and non-fiction, in addition to a lovely gold statue, also earn R$ 35,000 (a little over US$15,000). Not too shabby.

For some translation trivia, the Jabuti's most-awarded writer is Curitiba's famous recluse, Dalton Trevisan, winning in the short story category in 1960, 1965, 1995 and 2011 (he also won the Camões award in 2012). Even though publishers and agents often look to awards for new talent, and he has published nearly 40 collections of short stories and novels, only ONE of his books has been translated into English, The Vampire of Curitiba, published by Knopf way back in 1972. Good luck getting your hands on a copy, and hopefully someone out there will give him a second look!

Of course no major award is without controversy, and the Jabuti has plenty. In 2010, Record's publication Se Eu Fechar os Olhos Agora (If I Close My Eyes Now, tr. Nick Caistor) by Edney Silvestre, received the Jabuti for Best Novel in 2010, with Leite Derramado (Spilt Milk, tr. Alison Entrekin), by Chico Buarque, from Companhia das Letras, coming in second. The top three of each category were then put in the running for Book of the Year, and Leite Derramado took top honors. In the first phase voting was done by a jury of specialists, but the Book of the Year included a broader panel of judges, with several industry marketing and business executives. Record subsequently announced they would be bowing out of the award, alleging unfair political and media influence, saying it had become "a beauty contest".

This wasn't the first time this happened. In 2004 another book by Chico Buarque, Budapeste (Budapest, tr. Alison Entrekin) also won Book of the Year, but only came in third in the Best Novel category (Bernardo Carvalho's Móngolia won that year). And in 2008, the Book of Year was given to O Menino que Vendia Palavras, by Ignácio de Loyola Brandão, but only came in second in the children's literature category, won by Sei Por Ouvir Dizer, by Bartolomeu Campos de Queirós.

After this very public dispute, changes were announced for the 2011 edition, stipulating that only the winners of each category could run for Book of the Year.

Literary Awards for Portuguese Language Lovers: Prêmio São Paulo

AwardsZoe Perry3 Comments

We're in the midst of literary award season! In honor of the winners who have already been announced, and in preparation for those to be revealed very soon, I'll be doing a series of brief run-downs of some of the literary prizes most worth watching in the Portuguese-speaking world. The baby of the prêmio family, Prêmio São Paulo de Literatura, was launched in 2008 by the São Paulo state government and awards novels written in Portuguese and published in Brazil. But don't let its tender age fool you–over the last six years it has risen rapidly in both prestige and popularity (partly due to its generous cash prizes).

Winners are selected in three categories (each with 10 finalists): Best Novel of the Year by an Established Author, Best Novel of the Year by a Debut Author (under 40) and Best Novel of Year by a Debut Author (over 40). The debut author category was split this year by age, which I think is quite cool. To qualify, debut authors are allowed to have published short stories or poems, but it must be their first novel. 2013 winners (check out the finalists here) will be announced on November 25. The shortlists are, of course, full of familiar names, but the inclusion of debut authors means these lists are great places to see early-career authors earn a share of the spotlight, and they become a who's who of writers to watch. Also worth noting is that the requirements stipulate publication in Brazil, not nationality, which is why non-Brazilian authors like José Saramago and Ondjaki pop up.

Here's a selection of titles that are currently (or soon to be) available in English translation:

  • 2008 winner: O Filho Eterno by Cristóvão Tezza (Editora Record, 2007). Alison Entrekin's English translation The Eternal Son (Scribe, 2010) was a finalist for the 2012 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.
  • 2009 shortlist: A Viagem do Elefante by José Saramago (Companhia das Letras, 2008). Margaret Jull Costa's English translation, The Elephant's Journey (Vintage, 2010) won the 2011 Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize.
  • 2009 shortlist: Flores azuis by Carola Saavedra (Companhia das Letras, 2008) is currently being translated by Daniel Hahn. You can read his translator's diary about the process on the Free Word Centre website.
  • 2009 shortlist: Órfãos do Eldorado by Milton Hatoum (Companhia das Letras, 2008) English translation, The Orphans of Eldorado, (Canongate, 2010) was translated by John Gledson.
  • 2010 shortlist: Leite Derramado by Chico Buarque (Companhia das Letras, 2009) English title: Spilt Milk by Alison Entrekin (Atlantic, 2012).
  • 2010 shortlist: AvóDezanove e o Segredo do Soviético by Ondjaki (Companhia das Letras, 2009) The English translation, Granma Nineteen and the Soviet's Secret by Stephen Henighan, will be published by Biblioasis in 2014.
  • 2010 shortlist debut author: Se Eu Fechar os Olhos Agora by Edney Silvestre (Editora Record, 2009) English translation by Nick Caistor, If I Close My Eyes Now, was recently published by Doubleday (2013).
  • Adriana Lisboa's Azul Corvo (Rocco, 2010) was shortlisted in 2011. Alison Entrekin's English translation, Crow Blue, published by Bloomsbury, was recently launched at Flipside.
  • 2012 shortlist debut author: Bernardo KucinskiK. (Expressão Popular, 2011), translated by Sue Branford (Latin America Bureau, 2013).
  • 2012 shortlist: Paulo Scott'Habitante Irreal (Alfaguara, 2011) has been translated by Daniel Hahn, (Nowhere People) and will be published by And Other Stories in August 2014.