The pioneering Brazilian writer Nerida Pinón, who won some of the world’s most prestigious awards for her provocative writing and made history when she became the first woman to preside over the Brazilian Academy of Literature, is 12 years old. Died in Lisbon on May 17. She was 85 years old.
Her secretary and longtime friend, Carla Vasconcelos da Silva, said the cause was complications from an emergency surgery she underwent after battling stomach cancer.
Widely regarded as one of Brazil’s greatest contemporary writers, Mr. Pignon is admired for his masterful use of the Portuguese language and his playful approach to literary form.
In 2021, Pinon told a Portuguese radio station, referring to the ups and downs of the writing process, that “literature has opened the gates of paradise and at the same time the gates of hell.” “I have always lived with passion. I have never hesitated to fall in love with the Portuguese language, which is the great purpose of my life.”
Her whimsical use of religious symbolism and exploration of sexuality and eroticism were considered daring in predominantly Catholic Brazil, which until 1985 was ruled by a repressive military dictatorship. her time.
Pinon has authored more than 20 books, including the novel House of Passion (1972) and her most famous work Dreamland (1984), inspired by her family’s migration from Galicia to Brazil. I wrote , an autonomous region of Spain. She also wrote short stories, memoirs, essays, and speeches.
From 1996 to 1997, Ms. Pinon was president of the Brazilian Academy of Literature. This academy is a cultural institution that acts as an authority on the Portuguese language. She was the first woman to hold the position.
“She was a pioneer in so many ways,” said author and investigative journalist Isabel Vincent, whose friendship with Ms. Pignon spanned four decades. “And she knew she was pioneering what she was doing.”
Mr. Pinon’s work has won national and international awards, including the prestigious Prince of Asturias Literary Prize, the Spanish equivalent of the Nobel Prize. She has also won the Jabuti Award, Brazil’s highest literary award, twice.
Her work was first introduced to English-speaking readers in the 1970s by Gregory Labassa, a noted translator of Spanish and Portuguese literature who has also worked with Gabriel Garcia Marquez and others.
Although the worldwide reach of Ms. Pinon’s work has not matched that of such famous Latin American contemporaries as García Marquez, Julio Cortázar, Mario Vargas Llosa, and Isabel Allende, her writings have been well received outside Brazil. It was found by an enthusiastic public and translated into about 30 languages.
Publishers Weekly wrote in 1991 of “Dream Republic” as “an excellent piece of literature of the highest order.”
Nerida Quinhas Pinon was born on May 3, 1937 in the Villa Isabel neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro. Her father, Lino Pinon Muinhos, a merchant, was a Galician immigrant. Her mother, Olivia Carmen Quiñas Pinon, was a housewife and was born in Brazil to Galician parents.
As a child, Ms. Pinyon was an avid reader and fascinated by the fantasy world of storytelling. She began writing early, selling her handwritten stories to her father and other family members for a few bucks.
“I wanted to be a writer,” she told Brazilian newspaper Estadão in 2021. Above all, impossible stories, and who knows, even illogical stories. ”
When Pinon was 10 years old, the family moved to the rural Galician village where his father had grown up. Her two years living there made her more connected to her family heritage. This she later referenced in her work, where she frequently wrote about the concept of belonging and ancestry.
After her family returned to Brazil, Pinon studied at the Pontifical Catholic University in Rio de Janeiro, earning a degree in journalism. She started her writing career for newspapers and magazines.
In 1961 she published her first book, Guia-mapa de Gabriel Arcanjo. The novel imitates a lengthy dialogue between an archangel and a woman who wants to live outside the Christian faith. But it wasn’t until Dream Republic more than 20 years later that Ms. Pinon’s place in Brazilian literature was cemented.
Described by friends as lively and restless, Ms. Pignon has traveled extensively and lived in Europe and America, but Rio de Janeiro has remained her home. She taught at the University of Miami from 1990 until she was in 2003, and was a visiting lecturer at Harvard, Columbia, and Georgetown.
In recent years she has spent a lot of time in Portugal researching her last novel published in her lifetime, One Day I Will Arrive in Sagres (2020).
Mr. Pinyon has carefully researched and written a novel. Vincent said she read the Koran twice when she was writing “Voices of the Desert,” an erotic reinterpretation of “One Thousand and One Nights.”
Her art tastes varied. She loved westerns, she loved rewatching movies like ‘A Handful of Dollars’ and ‘Good, Bad, Ugly’. When she wrote she was often listening to Wagner’s operas.
Perpetually searching for a deeper understanding of human nature, Pinyon conversed with nearly everyone he met, Vincent said in a telephone interview.
She was interested in people. “Everyone fascinated her,” she said. She said, “It was like her mission to try to understand how people think, the human psyche.”
Mr. Pinyon leaves no survivors soon. Da Silva said she never married or had children and chose to concentrate on her writing. Popular in her national and international elite literary circles, she counted Clarice Lispector, Jorge Amado, Toni Morrison, Susan Sontag among her close friends.
“She used to say, ‘Literature owes me nothing. I owe everything to literature,'” Da Silva said.
Towards the end of his life, Ms. Pinyon began dictating his works to the recorder. Ms. Da Silva transcribed her own words and printed them in a large font, so Ms. Pignon was able to correct her prose.
Pinyon wrote her last book before she died, and it is expected to be published in the spring of 2023.
“She was saying goodbye to this book,” said Da Silva. “It was her farewell to the world.”