In 2020, Brazilian literature was acclaimed worldwide thanks to new translations and commemorative editions of iconic writers like Clarice Lispector and Machado de Assis. Meanwhile, new authors are drawing attention in fiction. The new generation of Brazilian writers has been winning prizes and been acclaimed by critics, and now it is stirring up the film industry.
The team of Brazilian Publishers — an industry project fostering the exports of Brazilian editorial content by means of a partnership between the Brazilian Book Chamber (CBL) and the Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (Apex-Brasil) — selected four young fiction writers for foreign publishers to keep an eye on. Miguel del Castillo, Jarid Arraes, Lucas Verzola and Luisa Geisler are prize-winners and their names feature book lists made by prestigious publications.
Learn more about each writer and their respective books below.
The writer was born in the city of Juazeiro do Norte, countryside of the state of Ceará, in the Northeast region of Brazil. Jarid started her career by bringing to contemporary literature a renovation of cordel, a traditional regional genre that is very popular in Brazil. Having as its main characteristic the rhythm, it originates from oral narratives that are published as chapbooks.
In books like “Heroínas Negras Brasileiras em 15 cordéis” (Black Brazilian heroines in 15 cordel poems) (2017), published in Brazil by Pólen Livros, Jarid explores and reinvents the genre by telling the stories from a racial and feminist perspective. Cordel is a family heritage to the author: her grandfather, Abraão Batista, and her father, Hamurabi Batista, were both cordel writers and woodcut artists.
Her first prose book, “As Lendas de Dandara” (The legends of Dandara) (2016), was published by Editora de Cultura. The title was translated into French and released in France as “Dandara et les esclaves libre” in October 2018 by publishing company Anacaona. In 2019, Jarid’s book “Redemoinho em dia quente” (Swirl in a hot day) was published by Companhia das Letras. Her first short stories book includes many narratives about Brazilian women who do not fit in and break expectations. It was well received in the Brazilian publishing market and it has met with a good critical reception, being awarded the Art Critics Association of São Paulo (APCA) Prize 2019 in the Best Short Stories Book category.
Luisa’s career in the book market started in 2011, with the publication of “Contos de mentira” (Tales of deceit), published by Record. Her first title made her win the Sesc Prize for Literature that year, and it was shortlisted for the Jabuti Awards. And she was only 19 at that time!
Born in the city of Canoas, in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, Luisa is a translator, writer and master in creative process by the National University of Ireland. In 2012, the young author wrote her first novel, “Quiçá” (Perhaps), also published by Record, and she won the Sesc Prize again. In the same year, Luisa was chosen as one of the Best Young Brazilian Novelists by Granta Magazine.
Luisa also wrote “Luzes de emergência se acenderão automaticamente” (Emergency lights will turn on automatically) (2014), published by Alfaguara. In 2018, the same publishing house released “De espaços abandonados” (Abandoned Places), an interesting book written in the format of a guide.
Miguel del Castillo
Miguel is a writer, translator and editor born in Rio de Janeiro who lives in São Paulo. Like Luisa, he was also chosen as one of the Best Young Brazilian Novelists by Granta Magazine in 2012.
He won the Paulo Britto Prize for Poetry and Prose 2010 for his short story “Carta para Ana” (A Letter to Ana”), published in “Antologia de Prosa Plástico Bolha” (Prose Anthology of the Plástico Bolha Literary Journal). “Restinga” (Sandbank), his first book, was published in 2015 by Companhia das Letras. Castillo’s stories combine memories and politics in an attempt to investigate the effects of big collective tragedies in the private lives of the characters. The book had its rights bought by RT Features to be adapted for the big screen.
Another book by Castillo that also had its rights sold for film adaptation is “Cancún” (Cancun) (2019), published in Brazil by Companhia das Letras. The book tells the story of Joel, the protagonist, in two different moments. In the first, at the age of 12, the character is a teenager from the district of Barra da Tijuca, in the city of Rio de Janeiro. The middle-class boy joins a young evangelicals group and then starts questioning the lifestyle of his father, who is involved in shady business in Cancun.
The title features the list of the “Best Books of 2019” of Quatro Cinco Um magazine, under the Brazilian literature category.
“A última cabra” (The last she-goat) (2019), by Lucas Verzola, also features such list. Published by Reformatório, the short stories book written by the author from São Paulo includes ten stories with characters in dead-end situations.
Lucas graduated in Law and used his work experience in the Court of Justice of São Paulo to write his first book, “Em conflito com a lei” (In conflict with the law), also published in Brazil by Reformatório. The title that has drawn the attention of Brazilian literature critics to Verzola brings stories about the lives of youthful offenders and blends fiction and nonfiction.
The writer was selected by the Brazilian Translation Club, an initiative to promote contemporary Brazilian writers supported by Capitolina Books in a partnership with the University College London (UCL). The idea of the club is to produce a bilingual anthology in the end of the program.
About Brazilian Publishers
Created in 2008, Brazilian Publishers is a sector project that encourages the export of content produced by Brazilian publishing houses. It is a result of a partnership between the Brazilian Book Chamber – CBL and Apex-Brasil (Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency). This initiative aims to promote the Brazilian publishing industry in the global market, contributing to the professionalization of the nation’s publishing houses.