Gringa Reads


Mid-Year News Round-up

NewsZoe PerryComment

If you pay any attention to Brazil at all, it might feel like there's been a steady stream of bad news coming out of the country for awhile now, from Rio's general lack of preparedness for the upcoming Olympic Games, to the economic crisis, impeachment scandals, interim governments, corruption scandals, sexual assaults, environmental catastrophes, and everything in between. The Brazilian literary world is not immune to the bad news, either. Recently, two senior staff members at the Brazilian National Library Foundation (FBN) were let go, including the person in charge of the department that runs their translation support programs. In true Brazilian style, however, whenever I think I hear the death rattle of those all-important programs, I'll get an email reminding me they're still kicking. Recently the FBN announced applications are being accepted for their 2016 residency programs, a great way for translators with a publication contract for a Brazilian work to spend some time in Brazil working on their projects. And their ongoing call for funding applications for translations is STILL open. I cannot guarantee the process will be efficient or headache-free, but my advice to publishers: grab the money while you can! 


August is Women in Translation month, and I've been doing some number-crunching and reviewing and list-making around here, so stay tuned for a few exciting posts to commemorate the occasion. In the meantime, here are some Brazilian lit-related news and links to peruse, particularly if you're sick of reading about the impending doom of the Rio Olympics:

If you haven't heard of it, go check out Glossolalia, PEN America's new print magazine (previously known as Passages): 

Glossolalia advocates for writers with limited access to the global reading community. By publishing works from lesser-translated languages, we connect storytellers to audiences eager for a vivid, mind-expanding look at experience unlike their own. 

Their new issue, Women Writing Brazil, is timed perfectly for Women in Translation month. Packed with poetry, fiction, and non-fiction writing from some of Brazil's best women writers, including Brazil's Nobel nominee, Lygia Fagundes Telles, in addition to a lot of as-yet unknowns to English readers, the issue is available to order on their website (print only). There's some really good stuff in there and this is a great project to support. 

All eyes are on Rio de Janeiro, but if you happened to miss it, July's issue of Words Without Borders was all about Brazil Beyond Rio. Featuring fiction, non-fiction, and poetry by Brazilian writers representing diverse backgrounds and landscapes, as well as perspectives on Brazil from writers from abroad.

I strongly suggest you check out Alison Entrekin's marvelous sample from João Guimarães Rosa's masterpiece, Grande Sertão: Veredas. My translation of The Time Left is in there, a short story by Carlos Henrique Schroeder, whose novel As Fantasias Coletivas I reviewed here.

Also just up over at Words Without Borders, in their Dispatches section, is a brilliant write-up of FLIP 2016 by Eric M.B. Becker. I was bummed I couldn't make it to Paraty this year, but Eric covers all the highlights.

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.

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.

Brazilian Literature at Paris' Salon du Livre

Events, NewsZoe PerryComment

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

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!

What I did on my summer vacation

Events, NewsZoe Perry1 Comment
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.

Nominees announced for 2014 Prêmio Portugal Telecom de Literatura

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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.

Brazil Inside Out – CBC "Writers & Company" Podcast Special Series

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Catching up on podcasts this weekend, I discovered I'd nearly missed a special five-part series on Brazil from the CBC's "Writers & Company" podcast with Eleanor Wachtel. Eleanor speaks with renowned children's author Ana Maria Machado (CBC, I love you, but her name is not pronounced 'My shadow'), who will be at Flipside later this year, the legendary Luis Fernando Veríssimo and Michel Laub (both have been translated by Margaret Jull Costa) and Bernardo Carvalho (at Flipside last year). Two of my favorites were the interviews with Sergio Rodrigues, author of Elza, The Girl, which will be published in English (my translation) this September, and with filmmaker José Padilha. They're well worth a listen!


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)!


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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.

"Palavras Invisíveis" – Invisible Words

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Before I got into translating books, I did a lot of translation work for ad agencies. I still do some advertising translation and my husband is a creative director, and I love to see creative, moving work for good organizations. I just found out about this beautiful project and had to share.

"Palavras invisíveis" is a collection of ten brand new stories written by great contemporary Brazilian authors, including the likes of Luis Fernando Veríssimo, Eliane Brum, Carlos de Brito e Mello, Antônio Prata and Estevão Azevedo, and is published only in braille! The initiative is from the Fundação Dorina Nowill, a philanthropic institution in Brazil working for the integration of the blind and visually impaired. 

The project's website says: "This book contains previously unpublished texts from Brazil's greatest writers. Too bad you can't read it. Now you know exactly how a blind person feels every time a new book is launched." From the website you can download an audio book.

I looked into the statistics, and the National Federation of the Blind says: "The most optimistic estimates project that today blind people have access to no more than 5 percent of books and other published works, and that is in the industrialized world. For the 90 percent of blind people living in developing nations, access to the written word is less than 1 percent." 

I wonder how many of those are in translation?


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

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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

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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.

Brazil Issue of Words Without Borders

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The August 2013 issue of the great online magazine of literature in translation, Words Without Borders, was guest edited by Stefan Tobler, publisher at And Other Stories, and is all about Brazil!

The issue includes previously untranslated fiction, poetry and non-fiction from a variety of contemporary Brazilian authors and poets. The list of writers includes Cristhiano Aguiar, Carol Bensimon, Horácio Costa, Orides Fontela, Angélica Freitas, Armando Freitas Filho, Rodrigo de Souza Leão, Vinicius Jatobá, Antônio Moura, Laurenço Mutarelli, and Antônio Prata. Translators include Daniel Hahn, Stefan Tobler, Hilary Kaplan, Anthony Doyle, Jethro Soutar, and me!