By Felicity Clarke, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO – The historic coastal town of Paraty welcomes superstars from the literary world next month with the eighth annual Paraty International Literature Festival (FLIP) from August 4th to 8th.
The festival is a highlight on the international literary calendar and with a whole host of big names including Robert Crumb, Salman Rushdie and Isabel Allende, the 2010 edition promises to bring a five day carnival of words and ideas to the Costa Verde.
Initiated in 2003 by urban architect Mauro Munhoz and British editor Liz Calder, FLIP has established itself as one of the foremost international literary festivals.
The 2003 festival featured Don DeLillo, Chico Buarque and Hanif Kureishi and the subsequent seven festivals welcomed famous writers from all over the world.
2010’s program builds on this success presenting close to two hundred events over five days, with debates, talks, exhibitions, film screenings and workshops featuring some of the most exciting writers in the world today.
One of the leading lights of Latin American literature, Chilean author Isabel Allende has been described as the world’s most widely read Spanish-language author and alongside Gabriel Gárcia Marquez is a famous proponent of a South American magic realist tradition. She will be talking about her work and hugely successful career on Thursday, August 5th.
Also identified with magical realism but this time from the Indian subcontinent, Booker Prize-winning controversial novelist Salman Rushdie will be launching his latest work Luka and The Fire of Life and discussing his views on contemporary current affairs on Friday, August 6th.
Religious themes appear in highlights from Saturday with widely celebrated American cartoonist Robert Crumb talking about his latest work, a graphic version of Genesis, and influential British literary critic Terry Eagleton arguing against Robert Dawkins’ views of atheism.
Crime and punishment is the theme of a discussion between American writer Lionel Shriver, whose 2005 novel We Need to Talk About Kevin is an international bestseller and winner of the Orange Book Prize, and Brazilian psychological thriller writer Patricia Melo.
Elsewhere, the future of the publishing world is under discussion with Director of the Harvard University Library Robert Darnton and Penguin chairman John Makinson pondering the written word in the digital age.
As well as the main program of talks and events, two parallel programs will be supplementing the literary proceedings. The cutely titled Flipinha is the festival’s educational program for young people that works throughout the year conducting theater, music and poetry workshops. The resulting works will be performed during the FLIP festival in short half-hour to hour-long sessions.
Started last year, FlipZona is the festival’s digital strand, working with audio and visual projections, animations, photography and discussions with writers and professionals.
The forward-thinking focus of the festival takes a national perspective with the choice of this year’s tribute. FLIP 2010 pays homage to Brazilian sociologist Gilberto Freyre, whose writings on Brazil have continuing significance in this moment of exciting development in the country. Explorations of his work and influence are featured in the main program.
On the whole though, FLIP is very much an international festival with an incredibly varied selection of authors and it is this blend that program director Flávio Moura believes to be key: “It is precisely this diversity that makes Flip one of the most representative meetings of literature. The richness is in the meeting of these different voices, in the mix that makes all the difference.”
Tickets for the main program are R$40 (author’s tent) and R$10 (screen tent). Tickets for selected event are available from Tickets For Fun. Others need to be purchased from official vendors at the festival in Paraty.