José Luiz Passos, UCLA professor of Brazilian literature and culture, has been awarded two of the Portuguese-speaking world's most prestigious awards for his novel, "O sonâmbulo amador (The Amateur Sleepwalker).”
José Luiz Passos with Brazil's PT award for best novel and the PT Grand Prize. (Photo provided by author.)
International Institute, December 6, 2013 — José Luiz Passos has been awarded two highly presitigous Brazilian literary prizes for his most recent novel, “O sonâmbulo amador (The Amateur Sleepwalker).” Published in Portuguese by Alfaguara (Rio de Janeiro, 2012), the novel has not yet been published in English. Passos is professor of Brazilian literature and culture and vice chair for undergraduate studies in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese.
Passos was awarded the Portugal Telecom Literary Award (Prêmio Portugal Telecom de Literatura) in São Paolo on December 4, 2013, for best novel in the Portuguese-speaking world, as well as the PT Grand Prize. The awards are sponsored by the Brazilian Ministry of Culture and the telecommunications company Portugal Telecom.The Grand Prize is awarded to the best literary work among the winners of the PT awards for best novel, best book of poetry and best book of short stories. Passos was awarded BR$100,000 for the two prizes, approximately US$ 42,000.
Modeled after the French Prix Goncourt and the Man Booker Prize of Great Britain, the Portugal Telecom Prize for Literature of Brazil is a highly respected award for literature written in the Portuguese language. Over 450 books qualified for this year’s prizes in the three categories of poetry, short stories and novel, with four finalists identified in each category.
The goods news for English and Spanish readers is that Passos’ novel has been picked up by the largest and most important international literary agency representing Portuguese-speaking authors, the Frankfurt-based Literary Agency Mertin. Mertin is presently at the Guadalajara Book Fair to negotiate a contract to translate the novel into both English and Spanish. The well-known agency also represents the rights to the works of Portuguese author José de Sousa Saramago (1922–2010), who won the Nobel prize for literature in 1998.
Passos completed his Ph.D. in Brazilian literature at UCLA in 1998 and taught at UC Berekely until 2007, when he was wooed back to his alma mater.
See the attached document for an English-language press release on “O sonâmbulo amador” from the Brazilian publisher Alfaguara.