Véronique Tadjo and Edimilson de Almeida Pereira
Host: Joselia Aguiar is a writer, historian and journalist; curator of Flip 2017 and 2018
At the height of the Ebola pandemic in West Africa, health professionals try to save their patients, students volunteer to bury the immensity of bodies, and a lady accepts an orphan boy who saw his village being decimated, all under the gaze of a baobab. This is how In the Company of Men, a novel by Ivory Coast writer Véronique Tadjo, not yet published in Portuguese, unfolds. From beginning to end, in the intense play of voices, the old tree is also a narrator who ponders the fate of humanity. Edimilson de Almeida Pereira’s poems, on the other hand, are equally full of trees and a wisdom closely linked to candomblé in its ancestral connections with the vegetal world. Oral tradition and the singing in inner Minas Gerais are intertwined in sound and beauty, in a reasoning and resistance gesture. Whether in essays, poetry or fiction by these two authors, the verb depends on the wisdom that tree leaves hide and book pages disclose. The panel’s title also pays homage to Pierre Verger, who in his book Ewé studies “acting verbs” that reveal powers of plants in their Yoruba names.