The writer Fatima Mesquita

Por Dolores Gontijo.

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Fatima Mesquita
Fatima Mesquita. Writer, ghostwriter, translator.

In January 2003, Fatima Mesquita arrived at Toronto’s Pearson Airport with all her worldly possessions.

Fatima had been in love with the country since she had been here for her brother’s wedding in 2000. Back in Brazil, she felt she wanted the calm and safety of Canada.

She was born in Belo Horizonte and has been a writer since she was a little girl. In São Paulo, she taught essay writing in higher education preparatory courses, and wrote scripts for radio, TV and videos. She also wrote for newspapers and magazines.

Writing is an exercise that brings a great deal of pleasure to the writer who launched her first book in 1999. There are currently 12, not including the translations and those she wrote as a ghost-writer.

She learned to diversify her style by working as a ghostwriter. She says she was influenced both by the radio with its broadcasting rhythm spoken out loud and by the TV with its cinematographic narrative full of images. “When I write, I try to imitate the stream in the countryside, trying to give complete fluency to the trip the reader is taking, but placing a few pebbles to make music from time to time.”

Fatima writes about any subject that is asked of her, but what she enjoys the most is writing non-fiction for children and discovering metaphors to explain science, history or human rights. She confesses that fiction makes her suffer. The conversation for months on end with imaginary characters is very painful. She has also written some unpublished poems.

One of her books has been translated into German and her success there amuses her. In the beginning, to publicize her work, she was interviewed by Jô Soares, Ana Maria Braga, and launched books at the bookstore Saraiva, Livraria da Vila. Several of her books are in their 8th or 9th edition. They are adopted by schools and she has achieved the feat of selling 98,000 books at one time to libraries of the public school system. The average sale of 11 books per day is considered good for a country like Brazil, with no tradition of reading.

The writer melts when she receives fan mail, especially from children. And she likes to keep track of her book sales reports, every 3 months. She feels encouraged and even proud of keeping the same average sales for years on end.

She, who grew up in a time when booksellers knocked on doors, was charmed by collections on astronomy, on how machines work, or atlases of special beauty. In comparison with the current language, Fátima says that it is simpler, lighter and more accessible. This pleases her because she strives to show everything from a Brazilian perspective.

She is currently working on two projects in English, a fiction for adults because she won a grant from Hamilton City Hall and a non-fiction for children for a Canadian publisher. In Brazil, the first fiction for children is already in print: Crazy Dog Days and one on the History of Human Rights, also for children.

Published Works:
Editora Panda (Panda Publisher): “Bem Bolado” and “Pronto para Socorro”, (version in German: “Erste Hilfe!”, Redaktion 4, “Em busca da meleca perdida”, (winner of the “Highly Recommeded” seal from The International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY), “Piratas, os personages mais terríveis da história”, “A Incrível Fábrica de Cocô, Xixi e Puns”, Almanaque de Corruptos, Tiranos e Outras Criaturas Nojentas”, “Almanaque de Baratas, Minhocas e Bichos Nojentos “, “Almanaque de Puns, Melecas e Coisa Nojentas”, “Amores Cruzados”, Editora Malagueta (Malagueta Publisher), a Grant from Toronto Arts Council, translated into Spanish, from the anthology “Vocês para Lilith”, Editora Estruendomudo (Estruendomudo Publisher), Peru, story published in the anthology “Triunfo dos Pêlos”, “Julieta & Julieta”- Editora Summus (Summus Publisher).