On July 5th, the renowned literary magazine Granta announced the 20 authors selected for its The Best of Young Brazilian Novelists issue. All of the writers are under 40 years old, and the magazine positions them as the most promising names of the generation born since 1972. Granta announced its selections during the Festa Literária Internacional de Paraty (International Literary Festival of Paraty, or FLIP).
All 20 young writers have had at least one short story published, and some have won major literary awards and have been published abroad. It was the first time Granta, which has been published in Brazil by Objetiva since 2007, dedicated an issue to Brazilian authors. The magazine, which was founded in Cambridge, England in 1882, began publishing an issue of the twenty best young British writers a century later, in 1983. The model was replicated in an American version, and also in one for Spanish-language writers, which is published in Spanish and English. The selections are published once every ten years.
The Brazilian issue was announced a year ago, also at FLIP, and between July and October 2011 writers who were born after January 1, 1972 and had at least one piece of fiction published in print could enter by sending in unpublished material. Of the 247 valid entries received, 70 texts were pre-selected, and passed on to a jury of seven. Each juror then made his or her list of twenty authors. In late February, the jury met and the final selection was made.
According to Marcelo Ferroni, editor of Granta in Brazil, nine authors had seven, six, or five votes in total and were automatically included in the selection. Those who received four votes were discussed by the jury. However, according to Roberto Feith, general director of Objetiva, 17 names were approved by consensus in the first round of deliberation. The jurors were Beatriz Bracher (writer and founder of Editora 34), Benjamin Moser (writer, translator and literary critic), Christovão Tezza (writer), Ítalo Moriconi (poet, critic and literature professor), Manuel da Costa Pinto (writer, TV editor and columnist of Folha de S. Paulo), Marcelo Ferroni (writer, and editor of Granta and the Alfaguara imprint at Objetiva) and Samuel Titan Jr. (translator and literature professor).
“We have full conviction that this is a vibrant, diverse and modern collection, closely connected to is time, and that it meets the purpose of constructing the map of Brazilian literature in the next decade,” said Feith.
“The texts chosen were selected based solely on their literary quality. Issues such as the state of origin of authors, which publishers have already published them in Brazil, none of this was considered,” he said.
Asked about the fact that the selection was based on a single text, not the complete work of writers, Feith said: “It is clear that a text does not exhaust their works, but otherwise it would be impossible.”
“What is most exciting is that these writers will be read in many languages,” said Granta Editor John Freeman, who attended the announcement at FLIP. The Best of Young Brazilian Novelists will be translated and published both in English, in November 2012, and in Spanish, in the first half of 2013. A Chinese edition is also slated.
The launch of the Brazilian issue reflects Granta’s expanding international activity. In addition to its Spanish, Italian and Brazilian publications, Granta’s international editions have launched or are forthcoming in Bulgaria, China, Norway and Sweden.
A look at the 20 young Brazilian writers selected:
Cristhiano Aguiar was born in Campina Grande, Paraíba. His collection of short stories Ao lado do muro was published in 2006 and won the Osman Lins Award. He is currently working on his first novel and a collection of contemporary essays on Brazilian literature.
Javier Arancibia Contreras was born in Salvador, Bahia and lives in Santos, São Paulo. He has written two novels: Imóbile, which was a finalist for the São Paulo Prize for Literature and O dia em que eu deveria ter morrido, for which he was awarded a literary scholarship by the Government of the State of São Paulo.
Vanessa Barbara was born in the neighborhood of Mandaqui in São Paulo. She has published the novel O livro amarelo do terminal, the novel O verão do Chibo with Emilio Fraia and the children’s book Endrigo, o escavador de umbigo, illustrated by Andrés Sandoval. As a translator, she recently published a translation of The Great Gatsby.
Carol Bensimon was born in Porto Alegre. Her first work of fiction, Pó de parede, is composed of three stories. In 2009, her novel Sinuca embaixo d’água was short-listed for the São Paulo, Jabuti and Bravo! awards. ‘Faíscas’ is an extract from her new novel.
Miguel Del Castillo was born in Rio de Janeiro and lives in São Paulo, where he is currently an editor at the publishing house Cosac Naify. Castillo has also been architecture and culture editor of Noz magazine, and has received the Paulo Britto Award for Poetry and Prose for his short story Carta para Ana. He is currently working on his first book of short stories.
J.P. Cuenca was born in Rio de Janeiro. He has contributed to several anthologies in Brazil and abroad, is the author of the three novels and has had his work published in Portugal, Spain and Germany.
Laura Erber was born in Rio de Janeiro. She has published short stories and essays in several magazines and has written four books of poetry, including Os corpos e os dias, which won the Jubuti Award for poetry. Her work has been translated into German. Erber is currently writing a book on the Romanian Surrealist theorist and poet Ghérasim Luca and working on her first novel, Os esquilos de Pavlov, which will be published in 2013.
Emilio Fraia was born in São Paulo. He is an editor at the publishing house Cosac Naify and has worked as a journalist for the magazines piauí and Trip. His novel O verão do Chibo, which was co-written with Vanessa Barbara, was shortlisted for the São Paulo Prize for Literature. He is currently working on the graphic novel Campo em branco with the illustrator D.W. Ribatski.
Julían Fuks was born in São Paulo. He has worked as a reporter for Folha de S.Paulo newspaper and as a reviewer for Cult magazine. He has published short stories in various magazines and in the anthology Primos: Histórias da herança árabe e judaica. He is the author of three novels.
Daniel Galera was born in São Paulo, but spent most of his life in Porto Alegre. He is founder of the publishing house Livros do Mal, which published his volume of short stories Dentes guardados in 2001. Galera’s work has been published in the U.S., Italy, France, Portugal and Argentina. Together with the artist Rafael Coutinho, he published the graphic novel Cachalote in 2010.
Luisa Geisler was born in Canoas, Rio Grande do Sul and now spends much of her time in Porto Alegre. She is a columnist for Capricho magazine. Her debut novel, Qui-çá, published in 2012, was awarded the SESC Prize for Literature.
Vinicius Jatobá was born in Rio de Janeiro. He is a literary critic and has contributed short stories to the prose anthology Cariocas and Cinema Utopia Revolução. He is currently working on his first novel, Pés descalços, and a collection of short stories Apenas o vento.
Michel Laub was born in Porto Alegre and currently lives in São Paulo. He is a writer, journalist and the author of five novels. In 2011 his novel Diário da queda received the Brasília and Bravo / Bradesco awards. His work is published in Germany, Spain, France and England.
Ricardo Lísias was born in São Paulo. He is the author of five novels whose work has been translated into Italian, Spanish and Galician. His writing has also been published in the magazine piauí and in issues 2 and 6 of Granta em Português.
Chico Mattoso was born in France and has lived in São Paulo. Longe de Ramiro, his first novel, was short-listed for the Jabuti Award. In 2011, he published his second book, Nunca vai embora. He currently lives in Chicago, where he is studying screenwriting at Northwestern University.
Antonio Prata was born in São Paulo. He has published nine books, including Douglas, As pernas da tia Corália, Adulterado and most recently, Meio intelectual, meio de esquerda. Prata also writes for television and for the literary column ‘Cotidiano’ for the newspaper Folha de S. Paulo.
Carola Saavedra was born in Chile and currently lives in Rio de Janeiro. She is the author of the collection of short stories Do lado de fora, and three novels including Paisagem com dromedário, which was published in 2010 and won the Rachel de Queiroz Award for Best Young Author.
Tatiana Salem Levy was born in Lisbon and lives in Rio de Janeiro. She is the author of the nonfiction work A experiência do fora: Blanchot, Foucault e Deleuze and two novels. Her first novel, A chave de casa, won the São Paulo Literature Award for a debut novel and her work has been published in Portugal, France, Spain, Italy, Turkey and Romania.
Leandro Sarmatz was born in Porto Alegre and has lived in São Paulo since 2001. He is an editor at the publishing house Companhia das Letras. He is the author of the play Mães & songras, the collection of poetry Logocausto and the short story collection Uma fome.
Antônio Xerxenesky was born in Porto Alegre. His first novel, Areia nos dentes, was published in 2008 and his collection of short stories, A página assombrada por fantasmas, was published in 2011.