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Brazilian Writer Hilda Hilst Dies at 73

February 4, 2004 GMT

SAO PAULO, Brazil (AP) _ Hilda Hilst, who provoked Brazilian readers with fiction and poetry depicting insanity, the supernatural and erotica, died Wednesday, said a spokesman for the University of Campinas Hospital. She was 73.

Hilst died from a short illness that developed after she fell in her home near Campinas, an industrial city 60 miles north of Sao Paulo.

Hilst, a retired lecturer at the University of Campinas, published 41 volumes of poetry, fiction and drama during a career spanning five decades.

Much of her work focused on insanity, based on her intense relationship with her father, a writer who suffered from schizophrenia.

Her later work dealt with the supernatural in the tradition of Magic Realism, one of the notable Latin American literary trends of the 20th century. She won critical praise, but often left readers puzzled by her seeming obsession insanity, death and the afterlife.

Hilst was recognized early in her career by Brazil’s literary establishment, winning top prizes from the Sao Paulo PEN Club and the National Book Club. Her work was translated into French, English, Italian and German.

Hilst was divorced from sculptor Dante Casarini. She had no children, saying on one occasion, ``It was write or have children; I decided to write.″