Alex Hijmans was born in Heemskert in Holland In 1975. He moved to Galway In 1995 to learn Irish as part of his degree in Celtic Studies in Holland’s Utrecht University. After his degree he did a Higher Diploma in Applied Communications in Galway University and began a career in journalism in Ireland. Alex worked for Foinse, Raidió na Gaeltachta, RTÉ and Nuacht TG4 for ten years. He has translated a novel for teenagers, Maistín (Cló Iar-Chonnacht, 2001), from Dutch to Irish and his play Aingilín was performed in Dublin and Galway in 2002. Short stories by Alex have been published in the magazines Comhar, Crannóg agus Dúillí Éireann.
At the end of 2007 Alex headed for South America, where he spent six months living in a poor suburb - or favela - on the outskirts of Salvador, the third largest city in Brazil. This provided the material for his novel Favela (Cois Life, 2009) which was shortlisted for Gradam Uí Shúilleabháin 2010 (Irish Language Book of the Year Award). His next novel Aiséirí will be published in 2011.
Alex Hijmans lives in one of Brazil’s many poor and dangerous suburbs. As the only white person in this district, populated with the impoverished descendants of Africans who were brought as slaves to Brazil, he ponders the great life secret of these suffering souls: how can they live contented lives in a place devoid of worldly possessions?
One hundred photographs. One hundred short essays. A faraway country in words and pictures, unknown ... but in the right at the heart of the world market.
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Eoin Ó Síocháin, a young human rights activist from Co. Clare, travels to Brazil to research the violent conflict between a native tribe and local landowners. As he gets to know the locals, he begins to understand that the story is not as simple as he thought – but by that time, it’s too late. Against his wishes, Eoin will have a key part to play when the conflict comes to a head.