Pioneering Brazilian writer Nelida Pinon dies at 85

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Brazilian writer Nelida Pinon, whose work has been translated into more than 30 languages, died on Saturday at the age of 85, her publishing house announced.

“Nelida Pinon died today in a hospital in Lisbon. The cause of death has not yet been confirmed,” the publishing house Record said in a statement.

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Her body will be repatriated to Brazil and she will be buried in the mausoleum of the Brazilian Academy of Letters (ABL), in a cemetery in Rio de Janeiro.

“It’s a great loss for Brazilian literature. She was probably the greatest living Brazilian writer,” ABL president Merval Pereira told Globonews, where he is a columnist.

Born in Rio de Janeiro in 1937, in 2005 Pinon received the Prince of Asturias Prize for Literature, considered Spain's equivalent of a Nobel, for all of her work.

Pinon, whose first name, Nelida, is the anagram of that of her grandfather, Daniel, has published around twenty books, including the novels “The House of Passion” (1972) and “The Republic of Dreams” (1984), inspired by the story of her family which emigrated to Brazil from Galicia, Spain.

She also wrote collections of short stories. A pioneer in several respects, the Brazilian writer became in 1998 the first woman doctor honoris causa of the University of Santiago de Compostela.

Pinon joined the Brazilian Academy of Letters, the Brazilian equivalent of the French Academy, in 1989, and seven years later became the first woman to chair it since its founding a century earlier.

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