Brazilian Secretary of Culture Suspends Incentives to Book Translations

Chico Buarque

To the contrary of what I wrote here a few days ago, the Brazilian Secretary of Culture Ana de Hollanda decided to suspend incentives to the translation of books into a foreign language, an effort whose purpose is to promote Brazilian literature abroad.

Wanna know why? Because of a little bit of pressure made by some publishers, who didn't like the fact that a certain distinguished author had been selected to participate in the program. "Who are you talking about," you might ask? This one guy, Chico Buarque de Holanda... Ever heard of him?

Yes, the singer, songwriter, and author is the brother of the Secretary of Culture. However, in my humble opinion, I do not believe this is a case of nepotism. If Chico Buarque weren't a well known figure that already represents the Brazilian culture worldwide, anyone could argue he is getting a little bit of help from his kid sister. This is just not the case, is it? Translating his novels would only elevate the status of Brazilian literature in other countries.

I doubt that many Brazilian taxpayers would believe this to be a real case of conflict of interest and would argue that Chico Buarque's name shouldn't be included in this government program while one of his siblings has an important position within the Department of Culture.

More information [in Portuguese] available from O Estado de S. Paulo