Celebrating Clarice Lispector's Centennial

Nov. 23, 2020

The Brazil LAB and the Lewis Center have been organizing a series of events celebrating the centennial of the luminous Clarice Lispector. Born in Ukraine on December 10, 1920, to parents fleeing anti-Semitic persecution, Lispector arrived two years later in northeastern Brazil, where she was reborn  “brasileira”: a Brazilian woman from the Northeast, as was Macabéa, the memorable protagonist of The Hour of the Star (published right before Lispector’s untimely passing in 1977). Acclaimed as one of the literary geniuses of the 20th century, Lispector is now the most translated woman writer of all times in the Portuguese language. According to Jhumpa Lahiri, Director of Princeton’s Creative Writing Program, “Clarice was always writing in the future. She speaks from beyond the grave. She defined what it means to be an avant-garde writer.”

The recent conference Clarice Lispector 100 years featured Paulo Gurgel Valente (Lispector’s son and literary executor) and the translators Idra Novey (Princeton), Johnny Lorenz (Montclair), and Katrina Dodson Columbia) in conversation with Princeton professors Marília Librandi and João Biehl. Pulitzer Prize-winner author Jhumpa Lahiri delivered the luminous keynote address “A Five-Pointed Star for Clarice.”

The celebration of Lispector’s life and creative work will continue on November 25th with the musical concert Now Clarice, with musicians/poets Beatriz Azevedo and Moreno Veloso. The iconic Brazilian artist Maria Bethânia will read excerpts from Lispector’s oeuvre. The concert will be premiered on Wednesday at 5 pm (ET) at the Brazil LAB YouTube channel.

During Now Clarice, the Brazil LAB will also launch the sonic library Clarice 100 Ears, organized by Marília Librandi and featuring artists, scholars, and everyday readers from Brazil and around the world giving voice to Lispector’s writings. The platform is an open-ended project and already features Paulo Gurgel Valente, biographer Nádia Gottlieb, indigenous artist Jaider Esbell, art curator Hélio Menezes, anthropologist Lilia Schwarcz, Canadian writer Claire Varin, Argentinian professor Florencia Garramuño, and Italian critic Ettore Finazzi-Agrò, among many others.

The Clarice Lispector 100 years events are organized by PIIRS’ Brazil LAB and the Lewis Center for the Arts and co-sponsored by the Humanities Council, the Program in Latin American Studies, the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, and the Department of Anthropology.