The Oscars of Brazilian Literature Go To…

Last week, five authors were awarded two of the most important literary prizes in Portuguese and Brazilian language literature: the Portugal Telecom, and the Jabuti, Brazil’s biggest literary prize.

Jabuti book prize trophy

The Jabuti Prize trophy was created in 1959 by the artist Bernardo Cid de Souza

Valter Hugo Mãe, a Portuguese author, won the Portugal Telecom Grand Prize on Monday for his book A máquina de fazer espanhóis (“Spanish-making machine”), which also won the prize for best novel of the year. Brazilian authors Dalton Trevisian and Nuno Ramos won for best short story collection and best poetry collection, respectively.

Two days later, women won both the non-fiction and fiction book of the year prizes for the first time in the Jabuti’s 54-year history. Economic journalist Mariam Leitão won both the best journalism book and best non-fiction book awards for Saga Brasileira: a longa luta de um povo por sua moeda, which describes Brazil’s inflation crisis and a political and financial battle that lasted for over fifty years.

Leitão’s agent, Luciana Villas-Boas, has told us that Chinese and Argentine publishers, as well as university presses from the US, have expressed interest in releasing Leitão’s book abroad. Her next book, entitled A historia do futuro and scheduled for a 2014 release, is also attracting the attention of foreign publishers.

Two books by children’s and YA author Stella Maris Rezende won first and second place in the Jabuti’s Children’s and Young Adults category, while Rezende’s novel A mocinha do mercado central (“The young lady from the fair”) won Fiction book of the year.

Between the two of them Rezende and Leitão have won a total of five Jabuti (named for a small tortoise native to Brazil) statues.

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