Brasilien: Ana Maria Machado

My thirst for justice is what defines me. Peace is a harmonious coexistence between those who are different, in a world where social justice is guaranteed and individual liberty is respected.

— Ana Maria Machado

Ana Maria Machado (1941) was born in a time when female presence in literature was still insignificant. Today, her work is eternalized in the Brazilian Academy of Literature, of which she is a part. She is the first writer of children's books to get into the Academy, and she always demonstrates the importance of this institution for the battle on prejudice against children that are many times seen as a second class public. She published more than 100 books.

Ana Maria Machado dedicates her mornings to writing fiction in a daily exercise of visiting a space in the subconscious. “It is necessary to be very humble and docile,” she says. But make no mistake: Ana Maria's sweetness in writing does not stop her from being a warrior. Her presence in juvenile literature began when she was exiled, after leaving Brazil threatened by the military dictatorship. When she returned, she worked as a journalist, fought against the censorship of the media and was the first woman to be the head of a news department. She directed the news department of the Jornal do Brasil radio station until 1980, period when democratic government was re-established. From then on, she dedicated herself exclusively to book writing, area in which she left important marks: she was the leader of the campaign for changing the cataloguing criteria in the National Library, demanding that female authors should also have the historical context of their work registered. Ana Maria Machado lives in the district of Leblon, in Rio de Janeiro, where she was born. She believes that literature is an attempt to coordinate chaos, to look for some sense in the existence that lies beyond the barriers. Among her many activities, there is one that has occupied Ana Maria for more than 20 years: the qualification of teachers in Latin American. Organizer of seminars on this subject for Unesco, she gives lectures, conferences and promotes courses for educators. In her opinion, peace depends on this capacity of sharing cultures, ethnicities and religions, in other words, of being tolerant with those who are different. She believes that, in this aspect, Brazil has a great contribution to give, since this is a country where cultural and religious tolerance is admirable. “But all transformations are connected to justice,” she affirms.

Academia Brasileira de Letras