American Collections blog

23 December 2009

Unfortunately, Aquiles cannot be with us tonight... the Medal Jose Mindlin for Cultural Achievement

Aquiles, our Latin American curator, writes:


As some of you may be aware, I have recently been awarded the Medalha José Mindlin for cultural merit. This prestigious prize is granted every year to a person elected by the Association of Brazilian Bibliophiles who has stood out for representing and disseminating Brazilian culture and literature abroad. I was thrilled and taken completely by surprise when I learned about the prize. 


This medal is in recognition of the work I have done at the British Library and in association with the Brazilian embassy in London which has been very supportive of my curatorial activities, especially in the organisation of Latin American literary events and exhibitions in the UK such as the Semana Machado de Assis and the Spanish American Independence Movements online exhibition. For the organisation of these cultural activities I have used a variety of resources from our Latin American collections such as Machado de Assis’ early poetic works Chrysalidas (1864 - BL shelfmark 1607/4821) and Phalenas (1869 - BL shelfmark published in Rio de Janeiro much before the author became famous as a novelist and considered to be very rare. 


I was represented in the award ceremony by my parents who received the medal on my behalf in Brazil last week. I know there are innumerable other professionals who, like myself, through their work are deeply engaged in the promotion of Latin American culture abroad and I would like to share this prize with them.


Congratulations! What a nice way to end a year on a high.

Best wishes,

Parabens Aquiles!

I must say Machado de Assis is a great writer who deserves to be much better known in Europe. Dom Casmurro was the first proper book I read in Portuguese. By the way, I recall that Martin Amis once told me that Machado was one of his favourite novelists.

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