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Arthur Powers went to Brazil in 1969 as a Peace Corps Volunteer and spent most of his adult life in that country. In the late 1970s, while practicing international law, he accompanied his wife in her work as a community organizer in the Rio de Janeiro slums. From 1985 to 1992, they worked for the Catholic Church in the eastern Amazon region of Brazil, organizing subsistence farmers and rural workers' unions in a region of violent land conflicts. Subsequently they directed relief and development programs in the drought-ridden Brazilian Northeast.
Arthur has received a Fellowship in Fiction from the Massachusetts Artists Foundation, three annual awards for short fiction from the Catholic Press Association, earned 2nd Place in the 2008 Tom Howard Fiction Contest, and 1st Place in the 2012 Tuscany Press Novella Award. He was a Press 53 Open Awards Finalist in 2011 and 2012. His poetry and fiction have appeared in numerous magazines and reviews.
A Hero for the People:
Stories of the Brazilian Backlands
by Arthur Powers
8.5 x 5.5 paperback, 190 pages
Praise for A Hero for the People: Stories of the Brazilian Backlands
“A Hero for the People is a stirring narrative about the people, history, and culture of Brazil. At root are the working-class men and women who sparkle with delight and labor in pain—and the reader is implicated intimately in their elemental emotions and vital experiences. This is a book where otherwise parched historical details become life stories worth imbibing, remembering, and repeating.”
—Gregory F. Tague, Professor of English, General Editor of Editions Bibliotekos
“Arthur Powers is more than a totally captivating, adventurous storyteller. He is a wonderfully accomplished writer who enriches the reader's experience of life, and is a mighty skillful reporter who knows the ins and outs of people and places. While his locations are often fascinatingly exotic, more importantly his people are always engagingly real! In short, Powers is in that rare company of authors who are impossible to put down!”
—John Reid, director of the Tom Howard/John H. Reid Short Story Contest
Meet Cover Photographer Augusto Froehlich
Cover photographer Augusto Froehlich says, “I do not usually follow my own dreams when working, but those of my clients. I am a photographer, just that, living in São Paulo, Brazil. As a friend said, I photograph life, including human life, natural world and human settlements, from caves to modern architecture.”
As for the cover, Augusto adds, “The photo was taken while climbing our Pico do Frade (Peak of the Friar), which is a relatively low peak of about 1560m high (5118 feet). It is located in the state of Rio de Janeiro, almost on the border of the state of São Paulo. My wife and I went there, along with friends, guided by our friends at MW Trekking. What makes this photograph interesting is the beautiful granite wall, much higher than the mountains around it, and its closeness to the shore (6 km or 3.73 miles). These aspects give it an imposing presence. It is not very difficult to climb, but it is not accessible to the general public. The trails to the base are also a bit hard. I took this photograph about two hours before sunset.”
Augusto has published two books of photography. The first, Luz Marginal Procura Corpo Vago, which he says translates to “Stray light searches for a [vague/available/vacant] body.” It includes photographs by nineteen people from a course and workshop held by Brazilian photographer Gal Oppido and was created by the whole group, including Gal Oppido. The second book was a private project for a client that told the story of a small farm and depicts all aspects of farm life, ranging from homestead and historic places to crops and natural environment.
“Set in the vast and sometimes violent landscape of contemporary Brazil, this is a gorgeous collection of stories—wise, hopeful, and forgiving, but clear-eyed in its exploration of the toll taken on the human heart by greed, malice, and the lust for land.”
—Debra Murphy, Publisher of Idyll's Press, Founder of CatholicFiction.net
"This is a remarkable collection. The Brazil that Arthur Powers brings to life in these stories is a testing ground for the human heart, an alarmingly real place where the extremes of poverty and opulence, iniquity and justice, hate and love, bring his characters—and readers—face to face with life."
—Bernardo Aparicio García, Publisher of Dappled Things
Winner of the 2014 Catholic Arts & Letters Fiction Award