Writer Leonardo Padura, a collaborator of IPS and a recent winner of the important Princess of Asturias Prize for Literature 2015, met with former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who recognised he was a reader and admirer of the Cuban’s work.
The meeting, held in the Lula Institute in the city of Sao Paulo, took place last June 30, shortly before Padura left for the city of Paraty where the so-called FLIP, Brazil’s most important fair, is held and in which Padura was one of the most awaited authors, interviewed and followed by his Brazilian readers.
During the two hours that the writer and the politician talked, the principal subject was the impact caused on the Brazilian former president when he read The Man Who Loved Dogs, Padura’s most well-known novel. Lula confessed that the book had been recommended to him by current President Dilma Rousseff, who is also one of Padura’s readers and who last year received the writer and his wife, journalist and filmmaker Lucía López Coll, for a private lunch in the Brasilia presidential house.
Lula, surrounded by a group of collaborators who had also read the Cuban writer’s novel, commented that he was fascinated by the book, to the point that while he was reading it “he almost became a Trotskyite,” and he recommended it to many persons close to him.
During their conversation they also spoke about the mutual collaboration projects between Cuba and Brazil, especially the “More Doctors” programme, which Lula considers is a success due to its social and humanitarian impact.
The novel The Man Who Loved Dogs has been a literary success in Brazil. With more than 40,000 copies sold it has shot up the Cuban writer’s popularity in that country, where the release of his most recent novel, Herejes (Heretics) is previewed for next September, for which he will return to Brazil.
To Lula’s question about how many times he had been in the South American country, Padura answered that it was the second time but that, with so many readers and invitations to fairs and to conferences, he was seriously thinking about staying in Brazil one week yes one week no.
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