By Jack Arnhold, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – This year, the internationally renowned ‘Festa Literária Internacional de Paraty’ (International Literary Festival of Paraty) or FLIP, will be held in the picturesque seaside town of Paraty, in the state of Rio de Janeiro, from Wednesday, July 25th, to Sunday, July 29th.
This year, Hilda Hist becomes the thirteenth writer whose legacy is honored by FLIP, and only the third female writer, after Clarice Lispector in 2005, and Ana Cristina Cesar in 2016.
Josélia Aguiar, who is curating the festival for the second year, was quoted as saying, “There were three favorite names, and Hilda Hilst was the one who, at this moment, seemed stronger to us, for all the questions that her work presents to us.”
This year will feature another diverse collection of writers, with seventeen women and sixteen men selected by curator Josélia Aguiar. The list of luminaries includes British historian, Simon Sebag Montefiore; Franco-Moroccan writer and winner of the Prix Goncourt, Leïla Slimani; American Pulitzer Prize winner, Colson Whitehead; and young Carioca phenomenon, Geovani Martins.
Despite falling funds for the festival, with R$1million less put towards this year’s event, for the first time this year, there will be a purpose built arena located in Paraty’s historic square, ‘Praça da Matriz,’ which will be able to hold up to 500 spectators.
Many of the main talks will be centered around themes explored by the honored author, Hilda Hilst – timeless themes such as death and God will be combined with presentations on current issues such as racism and sexism in Brazilian society.
Highlights of the festival include a talk on Thursday by British writer, Christopher de Hamel, the world’s foremost expert on medieval manuscripts, such as the Gospel of St. Augustine and the Book of Kells; while Friday will see a presentation on Samuel Beckett and African cultures by award-winning Franco-Congolese poet and novelist, Alain Mabanckou.
Saturday sees the climax of the festival, with an encounter between Colson Whitehead and Geovani Martins, as well as a talk by Liudmila Petruchevskáia, one of the great names of modern Russian literature, whose works have been compared to Gogol and Kafka.
Gabriel Neher, Franco-American expatriate, recalls the magic of FLIP in Paraty, “Paraty is a really cool place during the festival and reminded me a bit of Saint-Malo in France, except with a traditional Brazilian vibe.”
He continues, “The festival makes the small and quaint old town become vibrant, especially at night. I remember hundreds of people in the central square, dancing, enjoying drinks and food. The city itself is also surrounded by exquisite desert islands and beaches, as well as waterfalls up the mountains.”
This edition of the festival is going to be smaller and more intimate than last year’s, but it still promises to bring all the magic that keeps devotees coming back to Paraty, year after year. Anyone who attended Santa Teresa’s FLIST festival last year will also be in for a treat.
What: Festa Literária de Paraty – FLIP Literary Festival
When: this Wednesday, July 25th – this Sunday, July 29th
Where: Paraty, RJ – click here for how to get to Paraty
Entrance: The Festival is free to attend, but events are ticketed; click here for more information or here to buy tickets.