22. ilb 07. - 17.09.2022

Marçal Aquino

Marçal Aquino was born in 1958 in Amparo, in south-eastern Brazil. As a child he was already fascinated by cinema, comics and the oral traditions of his rural home, and wanted to become a writer in order to be able to tell his own stories. He studied Journalism in Campinas before he moved to São Paulo at the age of 23, where he worked as a sub-editor, reporter and editor for various newspapers, including »Jornal da Tarde«.

His literary début came in 1984 with a self-published poetry collection, but Aquino first achieved recognition with his prose; along with children’s books and short stories, he also writes novels and screenplays for film and television. His literary writing has been influenced by his work as a journalist. The focus of his first prose work, the award-winning story collection »As Fomes de Setembro« (1991; tr: The Famines of September), was on urban everyday life. The author is particularly interested in outsiders, the homeless as well as the elderly. Since the mid-1990s he has worked in close collaboration with the Brazilian director Beto Brant, who has filmed three of Aquinos’ works to date, including »O Invasor« (2002; tr: The Intruder). The film was screened at the Berlin International Film Festival and won an award at the Sundance Festival in the USA. The central theme is the conflict between three friends who own a construction firm in São Paulo. A crime is committed in an apparently hopeless situation which pulls them into a deepening quagmire of intrigue and betrayal. Aquino, who also worked as police reporter, repeatedly tackles themes of urban life such as criminality, corruption and violence in his works. However, his unpretentious prose transcends the boundaries of crime fiction by concentrating on the conflicts of everyday life in Brazil. »The matrix of my literature is the street«, says the author. His third novel, »Eu Receberia as Piores Notícias dos Seus Lindos Lábios« (2005; tr: I would want to hear even the worst news from your beautiful lips), is his most recent work. Against the backdrop of increasing social tensions in a bleak gold-digger town in northern Brazil, the love story between a photographer and the enigmatic young Lavinia unfolds with subtle irony. The virtuoso construction of the novel rests on the skilful interweaving of diverse narrative levels.

The author has won prizes which include the Prêmio do Concurso de Contos do Paraná and the Prêmio Jabuti. He lives as a freelance journalist and author in São Paulo.

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