Bem Vindo ! Brazilian Literature and Music Come to Suffolk

Here’s an idea so good they did it twice: an international literary festival bringing leading names in fact and fiction (and music and more) together in a beautiful, peaceful location by the sea for several days of debate, discussion, readings and performance. That was the vision behind Flip (Festa Literária Internacional de Paraty) which is held every year in the fishing town and resort of Paraty on Brazil’s Costa Verde, south of Rio De Janeiro. Founded in 2003, Flip has grown into Brazil’s largest literary festival and one of its’ most important cultural events, attracting over 25,000 visitors annually. Now ten years on Flip has given birth to FlipSide, its’ sister event which will bring the best of contemporary and historic Brazilian culture to the UK from its’ Suffolk base at Snape Maltings from the 4th to 6th October.

None of this would have happened without the inspirational involvement of Liz Calder.


Photo by Daryan Dornelles

From the early 1970′s onwards Calder has enjoyed an outstanding career in publishing, beginning as a publicist before becoming an editor, editorial director and then in 1986, a founding director of Bloomsbury. She published John Irving’s UK debut The World According to Garp, Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children and Michael Ondaatje’s The English Patient among many other prize-winners and best sellers. In 1997 Bloomsbury published the first book by a struggling writer called J K Rowling, with six rather successful titles to follow.

Liz Calder moved to Suffolk in 2005 and four years later was one of the founders of Full Circle Editions, publishers of high quality works of fiction, poetry, art and non-fiction with an East Anglia connection.

In the 1960′s she lived and worked in São Paolo and never forgot her affiliation with Brazilian culture. She began publishing contemporary Brazilian fiction in the 1990′s and along with her husband, the writer and editor Louis Baum, was one of the co-creators of Flip. The inaugral festival was opened by Brazilian superstar (and then Minister of Culture) Gilberto Gil and Flip has continued to attract a very impressive and eclectic list of international guest speakers and performers.

Doug Coombes: What were the origins of the first Flip festival ?

Liz Calder: I was first inspired by going to the Adelaide and Toronto International Literary Festivals in the 199os, and also by the emergence of the Hay-on-Wye Festival. It was also discovering the special qualities of Paraty: its’ secluded bay, many islands, the beaches, the surrounding mountains and the many hotels and restaurants make it the perfect venue for a literary festival.

But fundamentally it was a desire to help spread the word of the strength of Brazilian literature and introduce writers from outside Brazil to its’ riches.

DC: How did the idea of FlipSide in the UK come about ?

LC: It grew out of a wish to further spread the word of Brazilian letters, and also a wish to expand the activities of Full Circle Editions.

DC: Is the choice of  Snape a deliberate one for its’ parallels with the coastal location of Flip in Paraty ?

LC: Yes, there are a number of similarities in the two locations: beauty of landscape and an intimate atmosphere are just two of these, but of course Snape Maltings is already a world-class venue for cultural activity so it is an ideal location and a place of magnetic attractions.

DC:You have some very distinguished Brazilian writers speaking at FlipSide who may not be that well known to a UK audience.

LC: Probably the best known writers coming from Brazil are those published in the UK such as Patricia Melo, who writes about the darker underbelly of life in urban Brazil, and Milton Hatoum whose three novels set in the Amazon have been highly praised here.

Bernado Carvalho is also published here and Adriana Lisboa has a new novel coming out at the time of FlipSide called Crow-blue. Ana Maria Machado is a very distinguished writer for adults and children and is President of the Brazilian Academy of Letters.

DC: Is there one event you are especially looking forward to at FlipSide ?

LC: Actually I am looking forward to all of them. The event with Misha Gleny, Patrick Melo and Ana Maria Machado about Brazil today should be fascinating. Also the two musical events, the first being a tribute to the two men who created Bossa Nova, the poet Vinicius deMoraes and the composer Tom Jobim. Then there is the concert by Adriana Calcanhotto, the enchanting singer-songwriter who is greatly loved in Brazil.

DC:Is this intended as a one-off event or would you like to make it an annual festival  ?

LC: Yes, we plan to make it an annual international event.

FlipSide opens at 8pm on Friday 4th October with a performance of The Boys From Ipanema. Throughout Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th there will be literary events in the Britten Studio and the Peter Pears Recital Room as well as a Family Marquee and music and dance events elsewhere at Snape Maltings. InSuffolk will print a longer preview of FlipSide in September.

Doug Coombes

Full details of FlipSide at www.flipsidefestival.co.uk



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