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Brazil’s International Literary Festival: FLIP

Saskia Ghirotti By Saskia Ghirotti Published on June 28, 2016

Founded in 2003, the Festa Literária Internacional de Paraty (Paraty International Literary Festival), or FLIP, takes place in the colonial city of Paraty in the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. FLIP is considered by many to be among the most important literary festivals in Brazil and South America. It has succeeded largely thanks to the involvement of internationally acclaimed writers, its interaction with the arts, and collaboration with the city of Paraty.

In the 14 years since its inception, FLIP has remained true to its founding values of “originality, intimacy, [and] informality” [citation]. It honors both older and newer generations of writers, offering an opportunity for the old and the new to meet through literature, culture, and diversity.

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The colonial city of Paraty-RJ

What happens at FLIP?
FLIP’s main events take place in the central marquee, by the banks of the river Perequê-Açu. Smaller activities overflow from the central tent into the city of Paraty itself.

FlipMais, Flipinha, and FlipZona
Activities for children are offered throughout the city, through the side programs of FlipMais, Flipinha, and FlipZona. They focus on children and youth literature, theatre, debate, and visual arts. These activities have become an essential feature of FLIP, and have helped to involve the Paraty schools, children, and Brazilian artists in the festival.

Alongside free theatre, music, and cinema, books are arrayed for all to read in Paraty’s central square, ensuring there are plenty of activities to entertain children, adolescents, and adults.

Offering free theater, music, cinema, and books for all to read in Paraty’s central square, there is no lack of activities to entertain children, adolescents, and adults alike. 

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Books for everyone to read are hung from trees in Paraty's main square

Workshops with authors
FLIP offers an opportunity for members of the public to interact directly with acclaimed authors. Brazilians are given a chance to engage with international authors and share ideas, opinions, and discussions at the many workshops that take place during FLIP. These workshops are one of the most important attractions for those attending.

Setting the tone for the festival
Every year FLIP pays tribute to one Brazilian author, setting the tone for the festival. By selecting a specific author, the festival aims to preserve and spread an appreciation for “the Portuguese language and literature of Brazil.” [citation].

Past authors who have been honored include Jorge Amado (2006), Machado de Assis (2008), João Guimarães Rosa (2004), Clarice Lispector (2005), Mario de Andrade (2015) and Nelson Rodrigues (2007).

This year Ana Cristina Cesar (1952-1983) has been selected. By paying tribute to Ana Cesar, FLIP maintains its well-established tradition of highlighting the many voices of Brazilian poetry and literature.

Ana Cristina Cesar was a poet and translator considered to be one of the principal names in the ‘experimental’ literature field of the 1970s. Born on the second of June 1952 in Rio de Janeiro, Ana developed a love for poetry from an early age. In 1969, she travelled to London for an exchange and it was there that she first encountered English literature. When she returned to Brazil several months later, she brought books by Emily Dickinson, Sylvia Plath, and Katherine Mansfield, with the intention of translating these books into Portuguese.

Ana dedicated herself to education, earning a master’s degree in communication from the Rio de Janeiro Federal University and a master’s degree in literary translation from the University of Essex in England. Much of her work maintains a thin line between fictional and autobiographical subjects, interweaving “elements of daily experience and aspects of her inner self.” [citation].

At the age of 31, she committed suicide, leaving her best friend, Brazilian poet Armando Freitas Filho, responsible for her posthumous publications.

Her principal works include Cenas de abril (1979), Luvas de pelica (1980) and A Teus Pés (1982).

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This year at FLIP
This year’s FLIP will feature 39 authors over the course of five days, from the 29th of June to the third of July. Among these authors are Armando Freitas Filho (Brazilian), Abuda Said (Syrian), Bill Clegg (American), Karl Ove Knausgård (Norwegian), Benjamin Moser (American), Irvine Welsh (Scottish), Svetlana Alexievich (Ukrainian), Maria Esther Maciel (Brazilian), Arthur Japin (Dutch), Kate Tempest (English), Leonardo Fróes (Brazilian), and Valeria Luiselli (Mexican).

A wide range of topics will be discussed and presented through workshops, including drugs and addiction, understanding Brazil through literature, the human mind, nature, the Syrian war and refugees, the impacts of smartphones, social networks and reality shows, eroticism, and sexual experiences.

FLIP’s Importance
As mentioned above, FLIP is an important event for Brazilians in that it allows them to meet and interact with international authors. By bringing authors from other countries to Brazil, FLIP exposes Brazilians to a wide range of different writers, ideas, and subjects. In the beautiful city of Paraty, FLIP integrates Brazilian culture, international literature, art, and learning into one unforgettable event. 

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