Conceição Evaristo

Conceição Evaristo joins Brazil’s Academia Mineira de Letras

Conceição Evaristo is the newest member of Brazil’s Academia Mineira de Letras on Thursday, February 15, 2024.

Academia Mineira de Letras, founded by twelve intellectuals led by Machado Sobrinho in 1909, is the highest literary entity in Minas Gerais State, Brazil. Another eighteen intellectuals from across the state were then elected to join the academy and eventually, the system of forty seats became the official format.

Chair number 40 was founded by Pinto de Moura and its patron is the Viscount of Caeté. It was once occupied by Affonso Penna Júnior and, later, by professor, essayist, novelist, poet, and literary critic Maria José de Queiroz, who passed away in November last year.

The newest member of Chair 40 was selected by the voting committee, formed by academics Antonieta Cunha, JD Vital, and Luis Giffoni with six candidates up for the state honour. After an almost unanimous vote, the winner was revealed to be writer, poet, and academic Conceição Evaristo; she is one of the most important names in contemporary Brazilian literature, with translations into English, French, Spanish, Arabic, Italian, and Slovak. Her first individual works, Ponciá Vicêncio (2003) and Becos da Memória (2006) were published by Mazza Edições; followed by Poemas da Recordação e outros movimentos (2008) and Insubmissas lágrimas de mulheres (2011), both by Editora Nandyala. She is the winner of several awards like the Jabuti Prize, Prêmio Juca Pato, and some readers of this website will remember her appearance at the Afrolit Sans Frontières series in 2020.

“The arrival of Conceição Evaristo at the Academia Mineira de Letras, along with the recognition of her trajectory as a teacher, novelist, and poet, justly celebrated in Brazil and abroad, also has the meaning of imbuing this house with her qualities and life story, this practice of literature she calls writing. An experience, in fact, deeply marked by Minas and Belo Horizonte”, welcomed the president of the Academia Mineira de Letras, Jacyntho Lins Brandão.

Read more about the prize and the implications of being awarded by clicking here.

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