Beatriz Seelaender, Winner of the Sandy Run Novella Award, 2019

Seelaender, Beatriz

Beatriz Seelaender of Sao Paulo, Brazil, has won  our Sandy Run Novella Award for her manuscript, The Only Unessential.  

Beatriz Seelaender was born in 1998 in São Paulo, Brazil. In 2016 she published her first novel, in Brazilian Portuguese, and has since been trying her hand at English. Seelaender has had essays published by websites such as The Collapsar and The Manifest-Station, and her short stories can be found in Psychopomp Lit Mag, The Gateway Review and others. Her story “A Kidney Caught in Quicksand”, published by Grub Street in 2017, earned recognition from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association in the categories of experimental fiction and humor writing.

Seelaender is currently studying Literature and Languages at the University of São Paulo.

In describing her winning work, Beatriz says, “When Elias McBride returns from the front without his leg, he is assigned to a project that he sees as superfluous: helping academic Mabel Durrell in fortifying a house Jane Austen once lived in. Only the Unessential is about those who, in case of an emergency, will take what no one else will deem necessary- and the moral implications of such choices. Populated with discussions about the importance of art and the preservation of cultural heritage during wartime- or, as one might say, the ethics in aesthetics-, the questions posed by this novella may seem beside the point (though that is the point of it).”

But what is beside the point in a world that is burning?  Is there a place for aesthetics in a time of chaos? Or, might we say that there is no more important time for what might be called the superfluous?