Gringa Reads


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.

Brazilian Literature at Paris' Salon du Livre

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Brazil is the country of honor at this year's Salon du Livre in Paris, which gets underway in just two days, on Friday, March 20. Brazil is sending a delegation of 48 authors, including:

Adauto Novaes, Adriana Lisboa, Adriana Lunardi, Affonso Romano de Sant’Anna, Alberto Mussa, Ana Maria Machado, Ana Miranda , Ana Paula Maia, Angela-Lago, Antônio Torres, Bernardo Carvalho, Betty Milan, Betty Mindlin, Bosco Brasil, Carola Saavedra, Conceição Evaristo, Cristovão Tezza, Daniel Galera, Daniel Munduruku, Davi Kopenawa, Edney Silvestre, Edyr Augusto, Fabio Moon, Fernanda Torres, Fernando Morais, Ferréz, João Anzanello Carrascoza, Leonardo Boff, Lu Menezes, Luiz Ruffato, Marcelino Freire, Marcello Quintanilla, Marina Colasanti, Michel Laub, Milton Hatoum, Nélida Piñon, Paloma Vidal, Patrícia Melo, Paulo Coelho, Paulo Lins, Ricardo Aleixo, Rodrigo Ciríaco, Roger Mello, Ronaldo Correia de Brito, S. Lobo, Sérgio Rodrigues, Sergio Roveri e Tatiana Salem Levy.

This is a pretty decent list, in my opinion, with writers representing various genres, styles, ages, ethnicities and experience. Details on all events and programming involving the Brazilian delegations is available here. I'm bummed I wasn't able to make it, but if you're in the area, it's sure to be an exciting event.

And, in celebration of the fair, Brazil's National Library Foundation is putting out a special edition of their Machado de Assis magazine, with sample translations in English, Spanish or French (mostly English) of texts by 22 Brazilian writers, to be launched in Paris. One sample was translated by moi. You can download the entire issue, or individual texts, here. Authors include:

Veronica Stigger, Alexandre Staut, Antonio Vieira, Bernardo Ajzenberg, Carlos Henrique Schroeder, Christiane Tassis, Eliana Cardoso, Estevão Azevedo, Eugenia Zerbini, Flávio Cafiero, Helena Gomes, Henriqueta Lisboa, João Alphonsus, João Anzanello Carrascoza, José Roberto Torero and Marcus Aurelius Pimenta, Luciana Hidalgo, Silviano Santiago, Sérgio Tavares, Rodrigo Garcia Lopes, Noemi Jaffe, Miguel Sanches Neto, and Mércia Maria Leitão e Neide Duarte

What I did on my summer vacation

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I spent most of July and part of August in Brazil. The first two weeks of my trip were spent in São Paulo, where I caught the tail end of the World Cup (let's not talk about it) and ate at overpriced restaurants and sat in horrible traffic visited friends and family. Then I traveled up the coast to the impossibly quaint, waterfront colonial town of Paraty, which lies just beyond the Rio de Janeiro/São Paulo state line.

I was delighted to have been chosen as one of six early to mid-career Portuguese to English translators selected to take part in the Paraty Literary Translation Winter School, co-sponsored by the BCLT, British Council, Brazilian National Library Foundation and the Universidade Federal Fluminense. The course took place the week before Paraty's most famous event, FLIP (Paraty International Literary Festival). Six literary translators from the UK joined six of our Brazilian counterparts for a full week of literary translation.

Mornings were spent apart, following a format similar to the BCLT summer school translation workshops. The into-English group worked with translator and BCLT program manager, Daniel Hahn, on an unpublished text by José Luiz Passos, winner of the 2013 Portugal Telecom Prize. The into-Portuguese group worked with Paulo Henriques Britto and Sam Byers, author of Idiopathy, which was selected as one of Waterstones' eleven best of the year. Our group was also joined by translator Alison Entrekin and And Other Stories' editor-at-large, Sophie Lewis. Afternoons (and evenings – these were long days) were spent workshopping samples of our own translations.

José Luiz (or Zé, or 'Joe Steps'), in addition to being a brilliant author, was an all-around nice guy and a joy to work with. His writing choices are very deliberate and it was wonderful to hear him speak about his process – he had an answer to all our questions. You can read an interview with Zé here and read the fruits of our labor here.

Everyone described the experience as like a dream. Internet connections were spotty and unstable, and after a couple of days cut-off from the outside, staying in the same pousada, eating all our meals together, working and translating up to 11 hours a day, it felt like we were in our own little world.

I won't give a lengthy recap of Flip, as many others will have done a perfectly good job of that, including this dispatch on Words Without Borders. But I will say it was delightful way to round out the Paraty experience. Set to Paraty's colorfully charming backdrop, I caught some great panels (I witnessed writers laugh, cry, beg for more and ask to leave), wined and dined with old and new friends, spotted lots of literary celebrities, amassed a new personal library, saw Gal Costa belt it out on stage, and boogied down at the Companhia das Letras party. So much mental energy was spent on the week preceding it, though, that by the time I hit the second night of Flip on Thursday, it felt very much like the final night, and my enthusiasm for facing the crowds waned considerably by the weekend. It felt like Carnaval, but better. It was my first Flip, and definitely won't be my last.

2014 Flip and Flipside Lineups Announced

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If you haven't heard already, some exciting announcements were made last week that will be of interest to Brazilian literature fans and philes. Flip – Festa Literária Internacional de Paraty, or Paraty International Literary Festival – and Flipside (think of it as Flip's British baby cousin) both revealed their 2014 lineups, for August and October, respectively. Flip is Brazil's largest literary festival (it's a big deal) and 2014 will be its eleventh year. Usually held in early July, they had to bump it back to July 30 - August 3 because of certain little sports event. Each year a different writer is honored, and this year is dedicated to renaissance man Millôr Fernandes, an author, translator, playwright, cartoonist, and screenwriter.

You can find the whole list on the Flip site, but I'll mention a few highlights I'm looking forward to: Antônio Prata, part of Granta's Best Young Brazilian Writers issue – you can also read Daniel Hahn's translation of his Four Short Tales at Words Without Borders; Eliane Brum, whose translation of One, Two by Lucy Greaves is forthcoming early next year; Fernanda Torres, the actress who wrote Fim; Gregorio Duvivier, who some may know from the hilarious webseries 'Porta dos Fundos' and who published a book of poetry this year called Ligue os pontos; and Man Booker winner Eleanor Catton. For the younger crowd, Flipinha and Flipzona will also be running their own programming, and Ferréz will be appearing at the latter.

Though I lived in Brazil for four years and have visited the quaint, coastal town of Paraty twice, I've never made it to Flip. I really hope several things will align this year and I can change that.

And, Flipside will be back this year, once again bringing some big Brazilian (and non-Brazilian) talent to the scenic shores of Snape (yes, that's its real name). It's a beautiful place with a nice vibe, and if you're in the area, it's a delightful way to spend the weekend. The list of Brazilian writers this year includes some big names, all of whom have been translated into English and, with the exception of two, all have new releases this year.

The lineup includes the gaúcho power trio (a title entirely of my own invention): Paulo Scott, author of Nowhere People (translated by Daniel Hahn); Daniel Galera, author of Blood-Drenched Beard (translated by Alison Entrekin); and Michel Laub, author of Diary of the Fall (tr. Margaret Jull Costa). You could even say their translators form the power trio of Portuguese translators.

Tatiana Salem Levy, another of Granta's Best Young Brazilian Writers, will also make an appearance. She was featured in the collection of short stories launched at last year's Flipside, Other Carnavals. I was a bit surprised to not find any of her novels in English translation, but if they're not already in the works, they will be soon. Socorro Acioli, author of The Head of the Saint (her first English translation, translated by Daniel Hahn) is the only writer in the lineup from the northeast of Brazil. And Ana Maria Machado, one of Brazil's most significant children's authors, will be back in Snape again this year, likely livening up the children's tent once more.

And in a non-Brazilian aside, as a Canadian I'm happy to see both Margaret Atwood (who was delightful at the British Library earlier this year) and Michael Ondaatje on the lineup.

See you in Flipside (and possibly Flip)!


Events, NewsZoe Perry1 Comment

It's now mid-May and things have been pretty quiet on the blog all this year. So what have I been up to, and what's on the schedule ahead? It's been a busy year so far for translation, which has made me very happy and kept me busy. In the last few months I've packed in translations of two novels by Brazilian authors that will both be out by late summer. The first is Elza: The Girl by Sergio Rodrigues, to be published by AmazonCrossing in September (October in the UK). I also translated Paulo Coelho's latest novel, Adultery, a collaboration with Margaret Jull Costa. It will be published by Knopf in the US in August, and Hitchinson in the UK. Somewhere in there I also translated a brilliant short story by João Ximenes Braga for Comma Press's Book of Rio, called "The Woman Who Slept With a Horse". It's available now.

I found much less success (and spent much less time) reading. I've picked up a few books that I wasn't quite excited enough about to mention here on the blog, most of them put down half-way, never to be picked up again. It's frustrating, but I've got some new releases coming my way, and have been digging into short stories, looking for new authors and new material.

In April I attended the London Book Fair, whose Literary Translation Centre was busier and better than ever. Another interesting, inspiring and exhausting week of all-things literary translation. Brazil was noticeably absent from the fair, and as translators shuttled off to parties and meetings with their respective source countries, I was left shaking my head as I passed stand after stand from everywhere from Estonia to Croatia to Mexico to Japan. Everywhere BUT Brazil. But I was stoked to run across this display in all its 9-foot glory:

At that point I was one of only about five people who knew I was the translator, but hey, it didn't keep me from doing a little skip.

There have also been a few noteworthy publications of Brazilian books in English already this year, and it's shaping up to be a record-breaker for Brazilian literature in translation. I read the brilliant and darkly humorous Family Heirloomsby Zulmira Ribeiro Tavares from Frisch & Co, translated by Daniel Hahn. Also out are Hotel Brasilby Frei Betto from Bitter Lemon, translated by Jethro Soutar, and With My Dog Eyes by the incredible Hilda Hist, translated by Adam Morris and published by Melville House.

There are lots of events on the horizon, too, starting with what promises to be a very cool discussion on Brazilian poetry at the Brighton Festival with poet Angélica Freitas and translators Hilary Kaplan and Daniel Hahn.

At the end of May, Book Expo America will focus on literary translation, with this year's Global Market Forum entitled “Books In Translation: Wanderlust for the Written Word.” It sounds like it will be inspired by the LBF's Literary Translation Centre. Just as a sidenote, as further proof that the US continues to lag far behind the UK when it comes to fostering the community of literary translators, the BEA doesn't appear to offer a one-day ticket, meaning attendees have to fork over a few hundred bucks (compared to the £15 I spent for a three-day pass to LBF) even if they just want to attend the one-day Global Market Forum. I had thought I'd be able to swing a trip to New York to join in, but unfortunately it's not going to happen. All the more reason to plan for the ALTA conference in November!

On June 2 there will be an event called 'From Rio to River: A Short Tour of Latin America' at the Free Word Centre to launch both The Book of Rio and The Football Crónicas, a collection from Ragpicker Press, founded by fellow translator Jethro Soutar.

This summer, of course, is the World Cup in Brazil. Smack in the middle of it will be Translate in the City, a literary translation summer school offering workshops in nine languages (the Portuguese group will be led by Danny Hahn, who led the BCLT summer school last year). There are still spaces available. I did the same summer school in 2012, when it was held at Birkbeck and can honestly say it was life-changing. Do it.

And shortly after the World Cup ends, the BCLT, in partnership with the British Council, the Brazilian National Library Foundation and the Universidade Federal Fluminense are hosting the first-ever translation winter school in beautiful Paraty, on the coast of Rio de Janeiro state. It will be strategically just before Flip festival. Just the idea of it makes my heart beat faster.

And Other Stories Portuguese Reading Group, Fall/Winter 2013

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It's time for another And Other Stories Portuguese reading group! If you're not familiar with these, publisher And Other Stories promotes several reading groups throughout the year in various languages, which are a great way to see what's out there, spread the word about great untranslated books and engage in some friendly debate with fellow book lovers.

The three titles chosen this time are:

          • O Retorno (The Return), by Dulce Maria Cardoso
          • Viva México (Viva Mexico), by Alexandra Lucas Coelho
          • Agora e na Hora da Nossa Morte (Now and at the Hour of our Death), by Susana Moreira Marques.

All three are by Portuguese women, and for the first time the selections include non-fiction. Also, all these beautiful books are from the great independent publisher Tinta-da-China.

If you can't read Portuguese, don't despair: English sample translations are available on the website (the Viva México extract was done by yours truly). Read a beautiful blog post by Julia Sanches, who did the translation of Agora e na Hora da Nossa Morte,here.

The meeting will be held at 6:30 pm on Thursday December 5, 2013 in the Strand Building at King’s College, London. If you can't make the meeting, you can still read the books and comment, virtually participating via the website.

Find out more here:

See you there!

Upcoming Events

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Just a quick post to highlight a few upcoming events in the UK and further afield that may be of interest to literary translators, lovers of Brazilian literature, or Brazilophiles in general. International Translation Dayis an annual event in London (held this year at the British Library) coinciding with the feast of St Jerome, the patron saint of translators. The full-day symposium is targeted at translators, publishers, booksellers, students and librarians and features morning and afternoon seminars, panel discussions, and plenty of room for networking and catching up with fellow translators. Seminars are offered on a range of topics, suitable for everyone from newbies to seasoned pros, on everything from more erudite subjects like literary translation and cultural identity, to leveraging social media or avoiding the poorhouse... I'm looking very forward to being able to attend this event for the first time. Tickets must be purchased in advance (it sold out last year!) and are on sale via the link above.

30 September at the British Library

Flipside Festivalshould sound vaguely familiar to anyone who keeps up with the Brazilian literary scene. Flipside is the English cousin of the well-known Flip international literaryfestival, held every year in Paraty, in the state of Rio de Janeiro. The inaugural event will feature a weekend of literary events alongside dance and musical performances and tasty Brazilian street food. Several Brazilian writers will be in attendance, including Ferréz, Adriana Lisboa, Milton Hatoum, Bernardo Carvalho and Patricia Melo, as well as award-winning translators Margaret Jull Costa, Daniel Hahn and Stefan Tobler. Plus, how often you can stuff your face with feijoada, brigadeiro and caipirinhas in a place called Snape Maltings (if that's its real name...)? You can read more about the history behind Flip and Flipside in the Independent.

4 - 6 October in Snape Maltings, Suffolk

No doubt the 2013 edition of the Frankfurt Book Fairis this year's highlight for Brazilian literary enthusiasts, as Brazil is the guest of honor. Brazil is sending an official delegation of 70 (!) writers. There have been all kinds of events and presentations leading up to the fair, including several commissioned works by some of Brazil's best street artists. This month alone there are readings and concerts in ten cities across Germany. During the fair there will hopefully be lots of good wheeling and dealing, meaning more translated Brazilian books for everyone in the near future. And, of course, there is sure to be plenty of Brazilian book schmoozing going on across the city outside the fair. I'm dying to go, but still unsure how best to crash this party. We shall see...

Exclusive trade visitor days:  9 - 11 October 2013

Trade visitor and private visitor days: 12 - 13 October 2013 

On my way to BCLT Summer School

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I'm on the train to Norwich, where I'll spend the next week on the University of East Anglia campus attending the British Centre for Literary Translation's Summer School. Fellow literary translators from Portuguese, as well as Finland Swedish, Norwegian, Japanese, Spanish and German will come together for a week of translation and editing workshops. The Portuguese group, led by award-winning translator Daniel Hahn, will spend our days collectively translating a short story by Brazilian writer Cristhiano Aguiar. This will be my first time attending the BCLT Summer School, which sounds somewhat similar to the summer school I did at Birkbeck last July. The big difference, though, will be that the author of the text sits in on our sessions. This will be an entirely new experience for me, since I have previously had either very limited contact with a writer I'm translating, or none at all (in the case of All Dogs Are Blue, whose author had passed away).

I'll write up something about the experience when I get back to Manchester next week. In the meantime, here's a bit more information about Aguiar.

PS: I took advantage of the free wi-fi on the train to download a whole bunch of samples to my Kindle from the Companhia das Letras Amores Expressos collection. To date there are nine books in the series, but I believe they will eventually publish a total of 16. Hopefully I'll find some good new reads to share here.