Boto-cor-de-rosa: books, art and coffee

The Boto-cor-de-rosa is an independent bookstore in Salvador, Bahia in the northeastern region of Brazil. The name literally translates as “pink dolphin,” evoking the charming and irresistible figure of many Brazilian folkloric legends. At the Boto, we believe that providing the physical space and opportunity to interact with books helps to inspire the pleasure of reading and also supports independent and local vendors whose productions are generally squandered by megastores and virtual domains in Brazil.

Our focus is on contemporary literature, – particularly poetry – in a city where physical bookshops are somewhere between very rare and non-existent.

The shop walls, shelves and coffee tables are full of various forms of contemporary literature. But you won’t find many commercial “bestsellers”, since this product already has its niche and readers. The Boto seeks projects that challenge literary language (in the plural sense of “literary”) and avoids the cliché and obvious. We also have a good of stock of contemporary texts from other areas (philosophy, gender and sexuality, Black studies, political science, anthropology, interdisciplinary studies, cultural studies). Our display always has an excellent selection of local literature and small presses and the criteria are the same as those used for our whole curation process. The displays highlight many of Brazil’s underrepresented female writers and poets, as well as indigenous, Afro-Brazilian, and queer literatures that are often ignored by the megastores. But a book won’t be in stock just because it’s from the local scene— “Bahian” literature for us is held to the same standards as Brazilian literature. In other words, the Boto seeks to challenge the marginalization of these literatures by highlighting the fact that they are muted in spite of their excellent literary and aesthetic quality.

The Boto supports small and independent presses within the broader literary landscape and also shares contemporary literature from around the globe with our local readers. We follow contemporary debates, discussions and literary launches in diverse themes and forms not just from Latin America, but also other continents.

This site is the virtual side of the Boto, where we share contemporary poetry, fiction, essays, news, and some of what goes on in the boto physical space.