Lygia Fagundes Telles (1918-2022)

LYGIA FAGUNDES TELLES, the grand dame of Brazilian mainstream fiction and a feminist icon, died April 3, 2022 in São Paulo, Brazil. Her story “A Caçada” was in the third Brazilian science fiction anthology, Além do Tempo e do Espaço (1965), and her 1977 story ‘‘Seminário dos Ratos’’ [Rat Seminar] is a mordant allegory of a popular uprising against the violent Brazil­ian military dictatorship of that time. She was accepted into the Brazilian Literary Academy in 1985, and received Brazil’s most important awards and prizes. She was awarded the Camões Prize – ‘‘the Nobel of the Portuguese language’’ – in 2005.

Mostly an accomplished short fiction writer, she authored only four novels during her career, against 20 story collections. Telles frequently explored fantastic or magical realist elements, mingled with notes on Brazilian contempo­rary life. Such elements also crept into her last novel, As Horas Nuas [The Naked Hours] (1989).

She was believed to be 98 years old when she passed away, but major local newspaper Folha de São Paulo found her birth certificate and claimed she was born in 1918, and was actually 103.

–Roberto Causo

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