More than 400 female writers take a historic photo at Pacaembu – 06/12/2022 – Illustrated

There were so many female writers who appeared for a photo of the country’s female literary production this Sunday (12) that the initial setting chosen for the portrait —the Patrícia Galvão staircase, Pagu, in Pacaembu, in the central region of São Paulo— did not take hold. . With more than 400 authors, according to information from the organization, the place was transferred to the stands of the stadium.

“Never so many women have written and published books in Brazil,” said the organizers when announcing the event, held within the framework of the Book Fair, which ends this Sunday. In addition to the initial photo in São Paulo, similar initiatives began to pop up in more than 20 cities across the country, in addition to versions in Lisbon and London.

The concentration for the portrait started at 10 am. Several publishers were still pitching their tents in Charles Miller Square when the first authors arrived. Next to the Pagu staircase, another tent was erected for the registration of female writers.

“We need to know everyone’s name to record this historic moment,” said writer Vanessa Passos, author of “A Filha Primitiva”, a novel that won the 6th Kindle Prize for Literature released last year. For this, the organizers hung several QRCodes in the space, which directed the writers to a WhatsApp group. By 10:20 am, the group had 78 members. At 11:00 am, time for the photo, the group was full and the organizers wrote down the details of who had arrived later by hand.

“The idea is to assemble a book with all the photos from around the world, showing who is who in them”, added Passos.

The project is inspired by Art Kane’s “A Big Day in Harlem”, in which 57 great jazz musicians from 1958 cram into a street in the New York neighborhood, even taking possession of the stairs of a house. When photographer Mariana Vieira Elek was invited, the organizers asked if she knew her.

Vieira had the photo exposed in a frame at home, he says. “Art Kane’s son once said that his father didn’t know what would happen on the day of the photo. He was worried about the sun, the mood of the people and all that. It was an act of faith”, says the photographer.

By Vieira’s calculations, if the photograph were taken on the Pagu staircase, up to “nine very thin people squeezed per step” would fit, totaling up to 315 people. It would be unfeasible. For three days, she insisted with the team responsible for restoring the Pacaembu grandstand that that was the scenario. “In addition to being a practical matter, it also had the symbolism of filling a symbolically masculine space with women,” she says.

Entrance to the stadium was made in three long lines. But it was not easy to occupy the stands. In addition to the large number of female writers, the setting up of the stage for a concert by Zezé di Camargo and Luciano scheduled for the night that took place at the same time caused friction between them and the security team. At 11:35 am, a stadium official said there was no expectation for the release of the more than 300 women.

At 11:44 am, the first female writers entered the stadium. First, elderly women, mothers with infants and women with physical disabilities occupied the lower seats, most holding a copy of the book itself. “I think there are still about 400 people to enter”, conjectured, worried, the firefighter responsible for inspecting the organization.

A group of black female writers from the Flores de Baobá collective was applauded at the entrance. In the hand of one of the women, a sign stated that “black lives matter”.

Members of the feminist collective Marielle Vive were also present. At the time of the photo, they held a series of posters with the words “the first novel published in Brazil in 1859 by a woman was written by a black woman: Maria Firmina dos Reis”.

For Andrea del Fuego, author of the novel “A Pediatrician”, the moment was “a seismograph of current production”. She emphasizes that the expectation of today’s photo was not to encompass all Brazilian writers, but to show the potential size of the movement. “[A foto] It’s the tip of the iceberg,” he said.

At 12:00, an hour later than planned by the organization, the writers gathered in the stands went up a step for the photo. “Attention, people”, cried Giovana Madalosso, one of the organizers of the photo, in a megaphone. “They always said that there are more men in bookstores, because they write more than women. It’s a lie!”, she said, to applause.

Lifting their respective books, the writers were ready for the photo. “Long live the writing made by women!”, shouted Madalosso. And at 12:15, a click.


Numbers of female writers gathered in photographs taken in other cities around the world

Cuiabá: 24
​Curitiba: 98
Boa Vista: 10
Lisbon: 19
London: 11
Reef: 49
Sao Jose do Rio Preto: 25

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