- Marina ColasantiAuthor–Brazil
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Marina Colasanti was born in 1937 in Asmara, in what was then known as Abyssinia (nowadays Eritrea). She lived in Tripoli, Libya, until the beginning of World War II, when her family returned to Italy. Only in 1948 would she settle in Brazil. This nomadic childhood is described in her memoir, My Foreign War.
Coming from a family of artists, Colasanti began to study painting already as a teenager; she later attended the National School of Fine Arts, specializing in etching. Then, she began to work as a journalist. As a writer and chronicler of a major newspaper of Rio de Janeiro, she had already published two books of fiction and was editor of the children's section when she published her first book for children and young people, A True Blue Idea. These amazing and innovative fairy tales, illustrated by her, were awarded the most important prizes in the field. They became bestsellers, having been published in France, Spain, and several countries of Latin America. They still remain in print and are widely used in schools. In an interview, Colasanti says,
When I write fairy tales I don't have, or even want to have, any purpose. The consciousness must go to Curaçao, consciousness' vacation, superego' vacation! I need to be in a state almost semi-lethargic, and just listen to the unconscious.… I don't have any control over these tales. I have control over the form when it is time to write them down. But not over their contents.
Today, there are more than fifty books by Colasanti (poetry, fiction, essays) written for adults and children, recognized by critics, worthy of many awards, and analyzed in numerous academic theses. Being a feminist, Colasanti has worked for more than twenty years with gender issues, producing four books that have been recognized as important for Brazilian women's awareness.
The depth of content and the rich poetic language are the trademark signs of her literary production for children and young people. Colasanti has written over a hundred fairy tales, many of which appear not only in books but also in collections of stories by several storytellers in many continents. But Colasanti is first of all a communicator:
I write books for children, fairy tales and others genres. I don't want to amuse children. That's not my role. I want to talk to them. When I write for children, I talk to them, but I do not put myself in their place. As an adult, I chat with children. I don't buy the idea that there is a child in me. The child I was is gone… longtime ago! … But I take children very seriously, I talk to them with absolute respect. And it doesn't mean I don't want to see them smiling. It is more an acknowledgment of their intelligence. They understand everything, they know everything, they are very curious. [End Page 12]