President Rousseff Welcomes Steven Carter to Brazil's Bienal. Anne Rice, Scott Turow, and Hilary Duff Also Shine at 2011 Book Fair in Rio.

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American author Steven Carter takes center stage at Brazil's national book fair as country celebrates strength and progress. Women are buoyed by Carter's messages about self-worth, self-esteem, and empowerment. Almost one million visitors pack Riocentro Convention Center. President Dilma Rousseff highlights the Opening Ceremony.

The 2011 Bienal do Livro ended last month with Anne Rice, Steven Carter, Hilary Duff and Scott Turow highlighting America’s presence at the fair. But the spotlight this year was clearly on Steven Carter, the author most well known for introducing the world to the word ‘commitmentphobia’ in his classic New York Times Bestseller Men Who Can’t Love.

This year’s Bienal was a celebration of women, and on September 1st Carter was included in a handful of dignitaries invited to meet Brazil’s new President Dilma Rousseff. Carter’s books became popular in Brazil in 2007, starting with the release of What Smart Women Know. More than one million copies of this book have already been sold in Brazil, and five more titles have followed. Carter’s visit to the Bienal last week included many book signings, parties, and a standing-room-only presentation at the Bienal’s televised forum ‘Mulher e Ponto’.

Steven Carter’s presence could be felt everywhere at this year’s Bienal. The official website of the Bienal do Livro announced Carter’s upcoming appearance for months, featuring his photos on the splash page of their website. Jumbotron display screens inside Riocentro convention center announced his presence at the book fair. Newspaper, magazine, and web articles highlighted his appearance. For Carter, the experience was nothing short of dizzying.

“Every time I visit Brazil I am overwhelmed by the reception,” confesses Carter, who has now sold more than two million books in Brazil. “I go from my very quiet ‘Clark Kent’ life in the USA to thrilling weeks of celebration in Brazil. Every year I expect things to calm down but they just get more and more exciting and intense!”

Carter, who has been compared to Brazilian icon Chico Buarque, clearly seems to have struck a serious nerve in Brazil. His publisher, Marcos Pereira of Editora Sextante explains: "The role of women in the Brazilian culture and economy has evolved dramatically. If you think of the U.S. 20 years ago, I think this is happening now in Brazil. Women are rethinking their roles, enjoying their independence, embracing their success." Carter adds, “Self-esteem is the greatest struggle as women emerge—negative, discouraging voices from the past still have a powerful influence on women’s progress. I know that my work speaks directly to that conflict.” “Now Brazil has its first woman President,” continues Carter, “a sea-change is clearly underway but women need support for that change. I’d like to think that my work offers support for that change.”

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Richard Friedel
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