On Tuesday, September 24th, the Brazil LAB welcomed literary breakout star Geovani Martins to campus. Martins' collection of short stories, O Sol na Cabeça (The Sun on My Head), became a hit when it was published last year in Brazil by Companhia das Letras, and is now available in English. Martins’ stories recount the experiences of boys and young men from the Rio’s peripheries and draw on hisown experiences growing up there. Martins’ unique style—which pushed the boundaries of Portuguese-language by using the rhythm and slang of Rio’s poor neighborhoods—has been frowned upon by conservative Brazilian media but has drawn incredible praise from Brazilian critics and artists.
Martins read an excerpt from his short story “Rolézim” or “Lil Spin,” which follows a group of young men going to the beach and being harassed by the police. Audience members praised Martins' ability to build tension, even in telling a story of “almost nothing happening.” Martins explained that “tragedies and killing is part of history and the everyday,” and that by working with tension, he wants to keep the characters’ stories alive and implicate the public in stories of survival.
This event was co-sponsored by the Program in Latin American Studies, the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, and the Department of Anthropology.