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Favela Stories Excite Publishers

by | May 14, 2018 | Articles and Reports, News

Roger Tagholm

 

Rio’s largest favela, Rocinha, is brought vividly to life in a collection of 13 short stories called The Sun on My Head by 26-year-old Brazilian writer, Geovani Martins.  The stories concern the childhoods and adolescents of young boys growing up on the difficult streets and alleyways of the so-called ‘Broken City’ – how they deal with everyday violence as well as the familiar issues of identity that occupy all young adults.

First published by Brazilian publisher Companhia das Latras, rights have now been sold to Farrar, Straus & Giroux in the US, Faber in the UK, Gallimard in France, Suhrkamp in Germany, Alas Contact in Holland, Mondadori in Italy, Alfaguara in Spain, Penguin Random House in Portugal and Penguin Random House Canada.  Although Arabic rights have not yet been sold, Gallimard does have a reciprocal link with the UAE’s Kalimat for a selection of titles every year.

Martins, who is represented by Laurence Laluyaux at Rogers, Coleridge & White in London, was discovered during creative writing workshops at Flup, the literary festival of the Rio favelas.  Faber assistant editor Emmie Francis and publisher Mitzi Angel pre-empted UK and Commonwealth rights, with Francis saying: “We are so thrilled to be Geovani Martins’ publisher; we’re still reeling from the news.  The Sun On My Head is about masculinity, corruption, guilt, poverty and resilience. Martins boasts superb mastery of both form and storytelling; this story collection is completely of our time yet promises to be profoundly timeless. Just as exciting is that this debut work from an author of unparalleled reputation – and not yet 30 years old – only further confirms the resilient and rude health of international fiction in translation.”

Martins grew up with his mother and grandmother in Rocinha and has done a variety of jobs to support his writing, including being a sandwich-board man and selling drinks on the street.  Faber will publish in the UK in July 2019.

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