NC Literary Hall of Fame














A Hero for the People: Stories of the Brazilian Backlands by Arthur Powers

Press 53
$17.95, paperback
ISBN: 978-1-935708-83-4
May, 2013
Available from your local bookstore, the publisher, or

“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

"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

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

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. His award-winning novella, The Book of Jotham, is forthcoming from Tuscany Press in 2013.

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