Ponciá Vicencio, the debut novel by Afro-Brazilian writer Conceição Evaristo, is the story of a young Afro-Brazilian woman's journey from the home of her enslaved ancestors to the wasteland of contemporary urban life. Seeking an escape from rural poverty and generations of despair, Ponciá Vicencio moves to the city to start a new life. But in the loneliness of the inhospitable city, voices from the past crowd her mind. What is her grandfather s mysterious legacy? Can her family escape from servitude? And can we ever really outrun our past? This mystical story of family, dreams, and hope illuminates urban and rural Afro-Brazilian conditions with poetic eloquence and raw urgency.
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I grew up listening to my family telling stories about slavery. All of this oral communication that I received had to spill out in some way and it began coming out in what I wrote. My writing has a lot to do with my position in Brazilian society, with my position as a woman, as a black person and as a poor person. My writing depends strongly upon me as an individual to a great extent, but it also depends a lot on my history and upon the history of my community.My great dream is to be able to give my texts back to the people who gave me their life stories. It would be difficult for that to happen because I'm writing in a country where the vast majority is illiterate. In a country like Brazil, I believe that I have a social obligation to return to my origins. I believe in this type of politics and I think that people need to believe it in.– Conceição EvaristoAbout the Author:
Conceição Evaristo was born in Belo Horizante in the state of Minas Gerais. She is a professor of Brazilian literature at the Catholic University in Rio de Janeiro (PUR/RJ) and is working on her doctorate in comparative literature. Her work deals with the social factors influencing the family, including the power that women exert in their role as mothers and the consequences of society s failure to provide adequately for its youth. Her work has been published in the following anthologies: various issues of Cadernos Negros; Vozes de Mulheres (1991); Schwartze Prose; prosa negra-Afrobrasilianische Erzählungen der Gegenwart (1993); Moving Beyond Boundaries. International Dimension of Black Women Writing (1995); Finally Us. Contemporary Black Brazilian Women Writers (1995); Callaloo, vol. 18 number 4 (1995). Ms. Evaristo is also featured in Fourteen Female Voices From Brazil (Host Publications, 2002).
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