Clarice Lispector was a Brazilian novelist and short story writer whose innovation in fiction brought her international renown.

Born in the Ukraine in 1920, in the aftermath of World War I and the Russian Civil War, Clarice fled with her family to Romania and eventually Brazil. She published her first novel, Near to the Wildheart in 1943 when she was just twenty-three, and the next year was awarded the Graça Aranha Prize for the best first novel. She died in 1977, shortly after the publication of her final novel, Hour of the Star.

‘All the world began with a yes. One molecule said yes to another molecule and life was born. But before prehistory there was the prehistory of prehistory and there was the never and there was the yes. It was ever so. I don’t know why, but I do know that the universe never began. Make no mistake, I only achieve simplicity with enormous effort.

As long as I have questions and no answers I’ll keep on writing. How do you start at the beginning, if things happen before they happen? If before the pre-prehistory there were already the apocalyptic monsters? If this story doesn’t exist now, it will.’ — Clarice Lispector, Hour of the Star

CL 2

This interview of Clarice Lispector from February 1977 is the only footage we have of her.

She had arrived at the studios of TV Cultura in São Paulo to participate in a program about film, when the director of the station took the opportunity to ask her for a personal interview. To the astonishment of all present, she accepted. The result is this haunting film of the great writer at the end of her life, looking back on her novels and offering a glimpse at the inner life that produced such astounding works.

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