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Australian to Translate the Brazilian Masterpiece


Australian to Translate the Brazilian Masterpiece

Alison Entrekin is an Australian translator who has recently embarked upon a major professional saga: to translate Brazil’s most acclaimed book.

Grande Sertão: Veredas (1956) is not only considered the masterpiece in “Brazilian” language, but also poses enormous challenges to translators for the unique prose developed by João Guimarães Rosa.

Map of Grande Sertão. Illustration by Poty

“It’s not the same style but he’s comparable to James Joyce. He’s invented so much with the language…he’s done so much in terms of turning it upside down and inside out”, explains Alison who will use the method of “transcriation” to be able to provide English readers a truer version of Grande Sertão richness. The first and only translation in (American) English published in 1963 has not being printed in a while and experts say it does not do justice to the book.

Alison who has lived in Santos for 20 years has in her curriculum translations of other acclaimed and complex writers such as Clarice Lispector.





Arlindo Daibert woodcut pieces inspired by Grande Sertões. From top down: Otacília; Riobaldo: o urutu branco; Diadorim II.

Alison estimates that the translation of the book will take between 3 to 4 years. Click in the Youtube viewer at the top to listen to Renata’s full interview.

Photos: João Guimarães Rosa before and after Grandes Sertões (Left Cruzeiro Magazine, 1952/ Eugênio Silva).

Grande Sertão: Veredas
 features at TheGuardian’s list of Top 100 Books of All Time and a fragment of the book already translated by Alisson Entrekin is available at the literary magazine Words Without Bordes.


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Specialist in Brazilian popular culture with a post graduation in Ecology, Arts and Sustainability. She is also a drummer, a body percussionist and the author of the book "ABC of Brazilian Culture".



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