Confeitaria is a dynamic Brazilian publisher
The Portuguese word confeitaria means a confection or candy store where sweets are made and/or sold. This post involves sweets of the artistic or literary type. The Confeitaria referred to here is a website/magazine/collective/publisher based in Brazil and founded in 2012 by Fabiane Secches and Flávia Stefani Resende. The following is an interview with Fabiane in which we discuss independent art, literature and publishing specifically in Brazil but also more generally. This is the first interview in a series for Real Pants about what is going on with certain independent small presses, writers, artists and creators in Brazil at this moment. Enjoy.
On the “About” page of Confeitaria the site is described as being inspired by other sites such as McSweeney’s and The Rumpus. Can you give some background about Confeitaria and what direction it has taken since 2012 (publishing online content, books, etc…)?
How did you get all of the different writers, artists and others involved with Confeitaria?
We started with a small group of friends (and friends of friends), starting with my dear friend Flávia Stefani Resende, who now lives in San Francisco (she is writing her first novel in English). Later, Thiago Thomé joined us as the art editor and the project continued to evolve. I am happy that we (authors and illustrators) have different backgrounds and interests and yet have managed to come this far together.
I am curious to hear your thoughts on the independent literature and arts scene in Brazil right now, especially in Sao Paulo.
I think the formula “It is the best of times, it is the worst of times” would apply here. We have talented voices emerging and a really busy independent publishing scene nowadays, with some good book fairs and new small publishing houses. It is a joy to be a little part of this. On the other hand, we are crossing a difficult time in our country, going through an important political and social crisis. The editorial scene is still fragile and it’s sad to see some bookstores and publishing houses in trouble. But when it come to books, I am personally a believer. Before Confeitaria, I was a reader and even though some projects may come to an end, I know I will remain a reader. This is one of the few things that I don’t think it will change throughout my lifetime.
You have mentioned Ana Guadalupe already as one of “Brazil’s great new poetry voices” and I would definitely agree. I consider Ana a friend and have worked with her for the last few years on various projects. Can you give me some of your other favorite Brazilian writers/artists and why they are your favorites? It is my hope that these interviews will help to give more exposure to Brazilian writers and artists.
We have also Ana Martins Marques, Alice Sant’Anna, Angélica Freitas and Matilde Campilho, who is not Brazilian (she was born in Portugal), but has lived and blossomed as a poetry writer in Rio de Janeiro. As a notable writer in Portuguese, I feel I have to mention her work too. And we have some sharp writers as Michel Laub, Victor Heringer, Elvira Vigna, Daniel Galera, Ana Paula Maia and Juliana Cunha. As for independent publishing houses, I think A Bolha Editora and Arte & Letra are doing a consistent job. We also have Feira Plana (created by Bia Bittencourt), the most important event about independent publishers in Brazil, and Feira Miolo(s), created by Lote 42 (a small publishing house).
Confeitaria had a store that sold a wide range of books, notebooks, posters, prints, etc… from what looks like your contributors. Can you explain more about the store?
The project was really an interesting experience for me as a curator. Most of all, it was an attempt to reward the work of writers and artists who collaborated with Confeitaria. In the beginning, we were enthusiastic about the idea, but it was not the right time or the best format to us. In the end, the true is that we are more interested in the editorial part of the process than the commercial one.
Confeitaria does not have ads…how is Confeitaria sustainable financially or is it? Does Confeiteria pay their writers or contributors?
Confeitaria was not conceived to be a company. It was conceived to be a cultural project since the beginning. As our costs have always been low, we are able to keep and manage it this way. The number of readers and collaborators has increased substantially, and our publications had an enthusiastic reception, but if we take profit as a mesure, then we are definitively not a good model to be followed.
I am interested to know more about your experience publishing the books especially in regards to a part of your answer from the first question: “From a small website/publishing house standpoint, producing these three titles was an enormous challenge. And also a wonderful, complicated journey through the Brazilian independent publishing world”
We live in a country where reading is impaired by social inequalities, with a high index of illiteracy. So we have several challenges to overcome. Anyhow, I believe that at such hard times literature is even more important, so we have to try.
This interview was conducted via email over the course of a few weeks in February/March 2016 and mainly in English. Special thanks to Fabiane and Nathalia Pastor for help with translations. Any errors in the text are mine. All images courtesy of Fabiane, Confeitaria and Juliana Vomero. -Jeremy