Saturday, June 28, 2014

Planting a seed for Brazilian-New Zealand relations

We were privileged to host Brazilian children’s book author Diego Albuquerque for a week-long author tour last week. 

Diego was visiting from his home in Rio de Janeiro to promote Snowy the Doganaut, the English edition of his classic picture book Branquinho, O Dognauta (illustrated by Felipe Vellozo, translated by Peter Dowling). Libro International has world English rights to the book, and it is now available at good bookstores for $19.99 (32 pages, full colour - with a few signed copies on the market now!).

Diego Albuquerque appeared at this year's Festa Junina event at the Centre Court cafe in Albany, reading to an enthusiastic audience of bilingual kids and parents.
Diego began his visit with a pōwhiri and talk at Thames South School, and went on to appear at an official launch at the Embassy of Brazil in Wellington, seminars at Victoria University of Wellington and the University of Auckland, a signing session at the Dorothy Butler Children’s Bookshop, readings at schools and an early childhood centre, and a special appearance at Brasileirinho’s Festa Junina festival in Albany.

At a cultural level this week was important - it’s apparently the first time a Brazilian author has been promoted by a New Zealand publisher. The visit was made possible by funding from Apex-Brasil, the Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency, and helped by the Brazilian publisher, Gryphus Editora. Sincere thanks also to the Embassy of Brazil in Wellington, particularly Ambassador Eduardo Gradilone and Cultural Sector Adviser Karina Shaw, for their outstanding support.

At Victoria University: from left, Marco Sonzogni, Director, New Zealand Centre for Literary Translation; Peter Dowling, Publisher, Libro International; Diego Albuquerque; H.E. Eduardo Gradilone, Ambassador of Brazil.
Marco Sonzogni of Victoria University’s New Zealand Centre for Literary Translation aptly described Snowy as the planting of a seed for future links between South America and New Zealand. With small audiences for some events and difficulty getting the book into mainstream bookstores, it certainly felt like breaking ground for Diego and me during our tour.

But this is a seed we certainly hope to nurture with translations of more Latin American authors into English and promotion of New Zealand authors into Spanish and Portuguese. The enthusiasm of young readers especially provided the inspiration to do more.

Obrigado Diego – it was an amazing time with you in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Peter Dowling, Publisher

Reading Snowy the Doganaut at ABC Learning Centre in Auckland.
Jeremy Rose, Radio New Zealand National reporter, interviewing Diego for the Sunday programme, 
click here to listen to the interview.
Diego visited several schools in New Zealand. Here he is pictured in front of Thames South School where he was received with a traditional Maori welcome from the children (below)
A young reader devours the Portuguese edition at the Festa Junina in Albany, Auckland.
Diego at The Dorothy Butler Children's Bookshop, where he appeared for a book signing on Sunday 22 June

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