Flipside brings Brazilian literature, football and food to Suffolk

FlipSide 2014 at Snape Maltings, a festival of Brazilian and UK culture in Suffolkmixing literature

FlipSide 2014 at Snape Maltings, a festival of Brazilian and UK culture in Suffolkmixing literature with music, food, football and dancing. - Credit: Archant

Brazil is the focus of the world’s attention at the moment, having just hosted the World Cup and with the Olympics only a couple of years away, and now Suffolk publisher Liz Calder is bringing an authentic slice of Brazilian culture to Suffolk.

FlipSide 2014 at Snape Maltings, a festival of Brazilian and UK culture in Suffolkmixing literature

FlipSide 2014 at Snape Maltings, a festival of Brazilian and UK culture in Suffolkmixing literature with music, food, football and dancing. - Credit: Archant

FlipSide is Suffolk’s latest festival and is being staged at the Snape Maltings over the October 3-5 weekend. It combines literature with South American cuisine with added music, football, carnival and some great singers. It is a true multi-cultural celebration and brings the spirit of South America to the Suffolk coast.

FlipSide held its inaugural event last year. It’s the brainchild of Suffolk-based Full Circle Edition’s publisher Liz Calder who was instrumental in founding the parent festival Flip in Brazil which takes place in the village of Paraty every July.

Liz said: “We discovered Paraty more than ten years ago. It’s a tiny village which has relied on fishing and tourism to make its money, so I like to think it’s a little like Aldeburgh. Now the literary festival has become one of the biggest draws to the area and one of the best opportunities for the hoteliers and restaurant owners. People travel there from all over the world.”

She said that for many years the village lived in splendid isolation and could only be accessed by boat and became something of a legend as a result.

Gilles Peterson. FlipSide 2014 at Snape Maltings, a festival of Brazilian and UK culture in Suffolkm

Gilles Peterson. FlipSide 2014 at Snape Maltings, a festival of Brazilian and UK culture in Suffolkmixing literature with music, food, football and dancing. - Credit: Archant


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“On the surface, it did appear a bit run down but it had these wonderful old colonial buildings which had been turned into hotels and was full of artists and writers. It had a lot of potential. Brazil is not known for its literature – for its music, food and, of course, football, but not for its books. Flip has done something to change that.”

She said that the Flip festival in Brazil has grown beyond their wildest dreams and they hope that FlipSide, its Suffolk counterpart, will be equally successful.

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“When we first launched the literary festival in Paraty we were looking at drawing no more than 200 people, instead we had 6,000 turn up. Today we have somewhere between 25,000 to 30,000 people coming – that’s a tremendous growth in just a decade.”

She said that the secret of festival’s success both in South America and in Suffolk was that it was targeted at families rather than just literary junkies.

Brazilian singer-songwriter Bebel Gilberto. FlipSide 2014 at Snape Maltings, a festival of Brazilian

Brazilian singer-songwriter Bebel Gilberto. FlipSide 2014 at Snape Maltings, a festival of Brazilian and UK culture in Suffolkmixing literature with music, food, football and dancing. - Credit: Archant

“Although literature forms the back bone of the festival, it’s not just about books, it’s about culture as a whole. It’s about the spirit of Brazil and their way of looking at the world.”

FlipSide marries up the leading Brazilian writers alongside their international counterparts which this year includes Margaret Atwood, writer of the landmark The Handmaid’s Tale, and Michael Ondaatje, author of The English Patient.

Performing in the Snape Maltings Concert Hall will be singer-songwriter sensation Bebel Gilberto, one of Brazil’s greatest musical stars, and there will also be a performance from legendary DJ Gilles Peterson.

Now in its second year, FlipSide is already gaining a sense of its own identity. This year the festival will be bringing to Snape some of the biggest names in Brazilian literature including Ana Maria Machado, winner of the Hans Christian Andersen Medal for her life’s work, Daniel Galera, author of the graphic novel Cachalote and had his first UK novel Blood-Drenched Beard published this year, Paulo Scott, translator and author of UK novel Nowhere People and novelist Michel Laub is winner of the Brasilia Award and the Bravo!/Bradesco Prize.

Liz Calder is the organizer of the Brazilian Festival at Snape Maltings.

Liz Calder is the organizer of the Brazilian Festival at Snape Maltings. - Credit: Archant

Among the literary superstars supporting Canada’s Margaret Atwood and Michael Ondaatje are Lionel Shriver, author of the best-selling We Need to Talk About Kevin, poet and playwright Benjamin Zephaniah, Colm Tóibín, author of The Master, which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and winner of the Los Angeles Times Novel of the Year and Orange Prize finalist Kamila Shamsie.

The event will be spread across the whole Snape Maltings site and will include a Brazilian election debate, the sights and sounds of carnival, samba dancing, drumming, football, cooking demonstrations and street food.

Liz said: “FlipSide is a Family Arts Festival with a Brazilian Beat. It’s the best way to experience Brazil’s authentic culture.

“Our task this year is to build upon the success we achieved last year. I think this year’s line-up is particularly strong and the strengh of the festival is the fact that it it is a very diverse event. I like that it includes music, food and football as well as great books and storytelling. I think the food element has been really strengthened this year.

Celebrating Brazilians passion for futebol as part of the FlipSide Festival at the Snape Maltings

Celebrating Brazilians passion for futebol as part of the FlipSide Festival at the Snape Maltings - Credit: Archant

“Also we set up great encounters between UK authors and their Brazilian counterparts but there is a real connection between them because all the British authors have all attended the parent event in Paraty, so they know what it is all about.”

This year’s adult programme is curated by Ángel Gurría-Quintana, historian, journalist and translator from Spanish and Portuguese, and International Strategy Officer at the University of Cambridge. Children’s events are being curated for the first time by a dedicated Programme Director, Sarah Odedina, Managing Director of Hot Key Books, whose star-studded programme will include Sally Gardner, Benjamin Zephaniah, Socorro Acioli and Eleanor Taylor, illustrator of the new Emma Thompson Beatrix Potter stories.

Music will once again play a leading part in the festival. World renowned DJ/producer Gilles Peterson and acclaimed UK fusion group Da Lata open the festival on Friday October 3 with a dance-focussed double bill of Brazilian rhythms. Seven-piece band Da Lata will perform a set fusing Afro-Brazilian music with a dance floor sensibility, while Gilles Peterson’s new Sonzeira Project pays homage to both the dynamic present and majestic heritage of Brazilian music, with festival goers expected to dance the night away...

On Saturday evening, audiences will be transported to Brazil with the Bossa Nova and soul-infused melodies of multi-Grammy nominated singer-songwriter Bebel Gilberto, who heads to Snape’s Concert Hall to perform a rare UK show at FlipSide. This much-loved Brazilian singer is the daughter of the legendary João Giberto and niece of Chico Buarque. Bebel’s intimate voice and subtle combination of Brazilian rhythms and contemporary electronica have earned her a devoted worldwide fan-base.

Margaret Atwood. FlipSide 2014 at Snape Maltings, a festival of Brazilian and UK culture in Suffolkm

Margaret Atwood. FlipSide 2014 at Snape Maltings, a festival of Brazilian and UK culture in Suffolkmixing literature with music, food, football and dancing. - Credit: Archant

In a series of ‘FlipSide Encounters’ throughout the weekend, literary heavyweights will read from and discuss their work and inspiration, kicking off with Booker prize winner Michael Ondaatje and Brazilian novelist Michel Laub, whose first novel to be translated into English, Diary of the Fall, is a powerful meditation on memory, guilt and forgiveness. Guyanese-born author of award-winning short story collections Pauline Melville then goes head to head with one of Brazil’s finest young short-story writers Tatiana Salem Levy. A Granta ‘Best of British Young Novelists of 2013’, Kamila Shamsie meets a Granta ‘Best of Young Brazilian Novelists of 2012’ Daniel Galera. Then, two writers not afraid to tackle tricky subjects, Lionel Shriver and Machado de Assis prize-winner Paulo Scott promise a lively encounter as they discuss their politically engaged work.

Sunday sees the final encounter of two formidable talents. With hundreds of books and many prizes to their credit, Margaret Atwood and former President of the Brazilian Academy of Letters Ana Maria Machado will do doubt offer us a wide-ranging discussion from literature to politics, and much more.

As an added bonus there will be a Brazilian Election Day debate with an international panel of experts including former UK Ambassador to Brazil Alan Charlton, social scientist David Lehmann and writer Tariq Ali. Acclaimed children’s author Sally Gardner and poet Benjamin Zephaniah will share their unconventional routes to writing while great Irish novelist and literary critic Colm Tóibín launches his eagerly awaited new novel Nora Webster and also discusses his fascination with the extraordinary Ukrainian-born Brazilian novelist Clarice Lispector.

Liz Calder said that translation will again be a central feature of this year’s programme, with slams and discussions conducted by Daniel Hahn of the British Centre for Literary Translation.

Finally, closing FlipSide 2014 on Sunday night, a ‘Desert Island Books’ special provides a riveting glimpse into some of our finest writers’ treasured reading matter.

But, books are just part of the experience. There’s plenty for families to get involved with including the Street Child World Cup group taking part in part in the first Snape Maltings World Cup football match and capoeira (Brazilian martial arts) workshops by Urban Ritual.

Festival goers can also sample Maracatu, Samba, and Forró along with Choro music and Zabuma drumming sessions on Saturday and Sunday. A wide range of children’s events will offer art and music, football skills and meet-the-author sessions for all ages.

Food plays a huge part in the weekend events and there will be cookery demonstrations and have a go at culinary workshops conducted by Yaro Castro Roberts, who comes fresh from Paraty, home of Flip. Other workshops will allow youngsters to create a cordel – the popular cheaply printed poem and story booklets common on the streets of North Brazil; and construct carnival creatures with artist Bekka Tozer. An exhibition of wonderful Brazilian art will be on display from Escala, the Essex Collection of Art from Latin America, and a series of extraordinary images of the Yanomami people in North Brazil taken by world-famous photographer Claudia Andujar will be on display in the Film Container.

FLIP and FlipSide co-founder Liz Calder says that the festival is swiftly establishing itsel in the minds of Suffolk people. “Flipside, in its second year, is already establishing itself as a festival of international significance, bringing leading lights from disparate cultures together in surprising and fruitful juxtapositions: a World Cup of words and ideas.”

For full details of the events and line-up of this year’s FlipSide Festival, which runs from October 3-5, at Snape Maltings, visit the website at www.flipsidefestival.co.uk

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