By Stephanie Foden, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Literature enthusiasts from around the world will be gathering in the popular colonial fishing town Paraty in Rio State this week for the Festa Literária Internacional de Paraty (Paraty International Literary Festival), or as it is more commonly known, FLIP.
In its eleventh year the annual event, which kicks off today (July 3rd) and runs until this Sunday, July 7th, is considered one of the most important literary festivals in Brazil and South America.
During its five-day duration, FLIP hosts some two hundred events, including lectures, workshops, film screenings, as well as programs for kids (Flipinha) and youth (FlipZona). Each event is translated immediately and broadcasted live to the festival’s screen tent, which has seating for 1,400 people.
This year the festival is hosting world-renowned guests such as Brazilian scholar Cleonice Berardinelli, documentary filmmaker Eduardo Coutinho, Palestinian poet Tamim Al-Barghouti and Irish novelist John Banville.
The festival gives visitors the chance to meet their favorite authors, get books signed, as well as the opportunity to meet many like-minded people, all while roaming around the colorful colonial streets of Paraty.
“It’s my favorite time of year. I love walking around Paraty’s historical center and knowing that everyone else in the streets there loves books and reading. I love bumping into my favorite authors and getting to chat,” said Julia Michaels, of the popular bi-lingual Rio Real blog, who has attended the festival several times.
“The actual talks and debates are world-class – they really make you think […] But it’s all so wonderful, you simply have to take it in stride.” Michaels describes.
This year will also see Grammy award winner Gilberto Gil performing at FLIP’s opening show. In an intimate setting, the Bahian musician will revisit some of his greatest career highlights.
Each year the literary festival pays tribute to a past writer. This year FLIP homages Brazilian novelist, politician and journalist, Graciliano Ramos. The modernist has a long list of works ranging from children’s literature to full-length novels — his most famous being the romance novel “Vidas Secas”.
Before Ramos died sixty years ago at age sixty, he lived a colorful life, from serving as mayor of Palmeira dos Índios to becoming a prisoner for alleged participation in the Communist Revolt of 1935.
British expatriate and Rio-based financial consultant Amit Kumar is going this year, and tells The Rio Times: “Paraty is one of my favorite places in RJ state and I cannot think of a more charming location for a literature festival. Given the FLIP crowds in the historic center of Paraty, I have opted to stay in a pousada in neighboring Jabaquara, just a ten minute stroll from the action.”
In October, England will host FlipSide, a pocket edition of the festival. It will celebrate Brazilian literature and music, hosting previous UK and Brazilian guests of FLIP in hopes to stimulate conversations that started over ten years ago when FLIP first began.
Tickets to the authors’ tent are R$46 and R$12 for the screen tent. They can be bought online with a CPF (Brazilian social security card) number. Non-residents must email firstname.lastname@example.org to purchase tickets in advance. For those unable to make the trip, FLIP events are also broadcast live over the internet.