Nara Vidal was born in Minas Gerais, Brazil, in 1974, and lives in the UK since 2001, where she writes for various publications. She has a degree in Literature and Languages from the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, and a MA degree in Arts from the London Metropolitan University. Her fiction work includes short stories, novels and children’s literature. Her first novel, FATE, won the Oceanos Prize in 2019 and is translated and is published in the Netherlands and in Mexico. She is a teacher, translator and the editor of Capitolina Revista, for which she was awarded the APCA (Association of Art Critics of São Paulo) Prize.
Nara is also a columnist for “Claudia”, a huge female magazine in Brazil, and for the Culture Supplement at “Tribuna de Minas” newspaper, as well as monthly contributor for the literary publication Rascunho. Her latest book of short stories MAPAS PARA DESAPARECER (MAPS TO DISAPPEAR) was shortlisted for the Jabuti Awards 2021 and won book of the year by the Brazilian Union of Writers (UBE). In 2021, Nara was the guest writer for the literary residency of Fundação D. Luís I, in Cascais, Portugal.
In her third novel, award-winning author Nara Vidal creates a disturbing tale of racism and prejudice set in a small town in Brazil in the 1930s, under the regime of Getúlio Vargas, when the Constitutional text stated that every good citizen should support the national policy to whiten the country. In a disconcerting narrative, she drives the reader into a complex plot of illegal human bone trade when a group of black children vanishes, and a few youngsters with mental disorders accidentally die.
Divided into three parts, in a mesmerizing polyphonic way, with the overlapping of discourses, intentions, and actions from the many characters, PURE is an inventive yet simple narrative that deals with the complexities of Brazilian racial and social inequalities, reiterated by the normalized ideas of corruption and white supremacy. A story that is absurdly current and profoundly unsettling and lingers for its bold narrative and for its disturbingly surprising outcome.
Publication/Status: To be published Relógio D’Água (Portugal) in 2023 and by Todavia (Brazil) in 2024.
American feminist Bell Hooks provoked us to rethink the concept of love, and she is cited as one of the big influences on the author during the writing of EVA. Nara Vidal’s second novel challenges the reader to dive deep into the mind of a protagonist-narrator to witness her toxic and misleading idea of love and being loved. Formed by a mother-and-daughter relationship built on the patriarchal foundations of body shaming and control, Eva grows up carrying the burden of guilt for her wish to experience lust and freedom. However, as a curse, her life, like the ones of women before her, shapes up according to the demands of manipulative and possessive relationships, both with her mother and the men in her life. Accused of being possessed by the devil, Eva will only identify love and feel satisfied with relationships that are abusive and violent. As her mother dies, she is free for the first time, and rather than becoming independent from her mother’s heavy influence and control, she loses herself, slowly walking towards a mental battle that will culminate in a deep psychological and dramatic narrative about women’s oppression, the patriarchy, and the pattern of toxic love.
This is a novel that speaks to every mother and daughter and reflects, in a disturbing and enlightening way, the complexities of protection, control, abuse, and familiarity. A narrative that highlights what should not be said, a stream of consciousness that builds a sticky net of guilt and regret, madness and grief, tangling one’s thoughts.
Publication/Status: Published by Todavia (Brazil) in 2022. [127 pages]
In 1827, the Cunningham family escapes the potato famine in Ireland and reaches Rio de Janeiro. During the crossing, Margareth becomes pregnant by a missionary doctor she will never see again. Being single and one of the four sisters repressed and oppressed by their strict Catholic father, she is sent to a House of Shame, a convent run by Irish nuns in the mountains of Rio that welcome “fallen women” and sell their healthy babies to rich Portuguese families. Before being taken to the convent, Margareth becomes friends with Mariava, a black slave that is incessantly raped by the Portuguese owner of the farm where both women live. Eventually, Mariava gives birth to Cicero and Margareth to Emanuel. One night, as his mother sleeps, Emanuel is mysteriously taken from the convent. In the third and final part of this novel filled with metaphors and references to the legend of Hy-Brasil, we witness the fate of these peculiar men, Cicero and Emanuel, who get older and live as brothers, one black and one white, and reflect and represent the oppression suffered by both their mothers by the Catholic Church and the patriarchy as they pass on the legend of a land with no past and no future called Brasil.
The novel is divided into three parts. The first two parts are narrated by Margareth Cunningha and it is her account on her condition as a single mother with no choice but following the rules of the Catholic Church. The third part focuses on Mariava, the black slave, and is marked by a strong orality and told in a third person representing both the spreading of a popular tale as well as the lack of voice from black women, their disappearance and imprisonment by a racist and colonialist society.
FATE won third place at the Oceanos Prize in 2019.
Publication/Status: Published by Editora Moinhos (Brazil) in 2018, by Nobelman (Netherlands) in 2020 and by Textofilia (Mexico) in 2022. [100 pages]
“A precise, concise and dry narrative that is impactful, dark and dense. An immersion into this disturbing novel is an absolutely advisable experience, but only for the ones who can cope with the strong emotions that will surely hit the reader.” (Daniel Jonas, Portuguese poet and one of the judges of the Oceanos Prize 2019)
THE WOMEN IN SHAKESPEARE (SHAKESPEARIANAS – AS MULHERES EM SHAKESPEARE)
Women. Anas. Shakespearean. Which characters in Shakespeare motivate, move, instigate the most?
The women roles in Shakespeare were written in a period when women were not allowed to play as actresses in the theatre. The roles of Juliet, Cordelia, Viola, Portia, Desdemona, and Ophelia were all by then played by men. Whether they honoured each of these characters or joined in on caricatures, this brought challenges: how would men represent these women in all the deepness and subjectivity those roles involved? A combination of the author’s passion for The Bard’s work and for contemporary discussions as feminism, gender roles, society and politics, all present in her literary work, The Women in Shakespeare is an intimate and label-free essay about some of the most fascinating female characters in the World literature.
As in Shakespeare’s plays, the book is divided in five acts, inspired by the elements of nature and associated with 15 female characters, and is the first book in Portuguese to analyse and focus on the women in Shakespeare. Written in simple language and proposing interesting and important discussions, this book is a gem for those already familiar or yet to become familiarized with the Bard’s work.
Publication/Status: Published by Relicário (Brazil) in September 2023. [200 pages]