Conceição Evaristo was born south of Belo Horizonte to a poor family with nine sons. She had to work as a domestic servant during her youth until 1971, at the age of twenty-five. She moved to Rio de Janeiro where she was approved on a civil service exam to be a teacher and studied Letters at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. In the 1980s, Evaristo got involved in the Quilombhoje (African Brazilian) writers group. She made her literary debut in 1990 with works published in the series Cadernos Negros, which came out from the Quilombhoje.
She received a master’s degree in Brazilian literature from PUC-Rio in 1996, and a doctorate in comparative literature from Universidade Federal Fluminense in 2011. Her works, especially the novel Ponciá Vicêncio (2003), address such themes as racial, gender, and class discrimination. The novel was translated into English and published in the United States in 2007. She teaches at UFMG as a visiting professor.
David Brookshaw is a professor emeritus at the University of Bristol, England. He has published widely in the field of Brazilian and Lusophone postcolonial studies, and has also translated the work of various authors from Portuguese, including Mia Couto, Paulina Chiziane, Paulo Freire, and José Rodrigues Miguéis. His translation of Mia Couto’s Confession of the Lioness was short-listed for the 2017 International Dublin Literary Award. His most recent translation is Couto’s Woman of the Ashes (2018).