Brazilian novelist Paulo Coelho is best known for his iconic novel The Alchemist, which has been translated into about 70 languages. He was once sent to a mental institution by his parents for not following the usual career path. He dropped out of law school and became a hippie later.
Mel Fronckowiak is a Brazilian actress, writer, and TV host best known for her work on the TV show A Liga. She began modeling as a teenager and appeared in many TV commercials and advertising campaigns. She soon ventured into acting as well and acted in the youth soap opera Rebeldes. She is also a published author.
Clarice Lispector was a Ukrainian-born Brazilian short story writer and novelist. As a young woman, she entered the Law School of the University of Brazil and began her writing career while studying. She soon gained fame as a writer and won the prestigious Graça Aranha Prize for the best debut novel. She died of cancer at a relatively young age.
Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis was a Brazilian novelist, playwright, poet, and short-story writer. Hailing from a family of freed slaves, he had a difficult childhood that he overcame to become a famous writer. He founded the Brazilian Academy of Letters and became the organization’s first president. He is credited with having shaped the realism movement in Brazil.
Vinicius de Moraes was a Brazilian poet, essayist, playwright, lyricist, musician, singer, and diplomat. His compositions and lyrics played important roles in the introduction and popoularization of bossa nova music. Vinicius de Moraes is best remembered for his collaborations with popular musicians like Antônio Carlos Jobim. His play Orfeu da conceição was adapted into an Oscar-winning film titled Black Orpheus.
Ricardo Semler is a Brazilian industrialist who is the CEO and majority owner of the company Semco Partners. The organization is known for its radical industrial democracy and corporate re-engineering. His business management policies, which have helped his company increase its profits manifold, have attracted widespread interest around the world. He is also a published author.
Edir Macedo is a Brazilian evangelical bishop, writer, and billionaire businessman. He is the founder of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God (UCKG) and the co-owner of RecordTV, the third-largest TV network in Brazil. He began his career as a civil servant before moving to a religious career. He has been accused of racism and misogyny.
Jorge Amado was a Brazilian writer affiliated with the modernist school. He is regarded as one of the best modern Brazilian writers, and his works have been translated into around 49 languages. He was the 23rd chairperson of the Brazilian Academy of Letters, holding this post from 1961 until he died in 2001.
Cazuza was a Brazilian singer-songwriter remembered as one of the greatest exponents of Brazilian rock music. Over the course of his nine-year career, Cazuza sold over five million albums and achieved 18 Top 10 singles in Brazil. He died due to a septic shock triggered by AIDS at age 32. His life inspired the 2004 biopic Cazuza–O Tempo Não Pára.
Chico Xavier was a Brazilian spiritist medium and philanthropist. He wrote more than 490 books over a period of 60 years and covered a wide range of topics such as religion, science, and philosophy. He claimed to be communicating with the spirits of the deceased and became popular in the 1960s and 1970s when he started appearing on TV shows.
Carlos Marighella was a Brazilian politician and guerrilla fighter of Marxist–Leninist orientation. As a young man, he enrolled at the Polytechnic School of Bahia to study engineering but quit to join the Brazilian Communist Party (PCB). Also a writer, he authored the Minimanual of the Urban Guerrilla, a book on revolutionary struggle. He was killed by the police in 1969.
José Sarney is a Brazilian politician and lawyer. He served as the 31st president of Brazil from 1985 to 1990. His tenure was fraught with problems like rampant inflation and corruption. He also faced multiple allegations of nepotism in his career. Two of his children are also politicians. One of Brazil’s foremost oligarchs, he owns multiple media organizations.
Monteiro Lobato was a Brazilian writer best known for his children’s books. He authored a set of educational but entertaining children's books and this brought him much fame. He also wrote numerous novels and short tales for adult readers, but these weren’t as popular as his children’s books. He founded the publishing house Companhia Editora Nacional.
Leonardo Boff is a Brazilian theologian and philosopher writer. He was formerly a Catholic priest and actively supported Latin American liberation theology. As a young man, he entered the Franciscan Order and was ordained a Catholic priest after a few years. He worked as an educator in the academic fields of theology, ethics, and philosophy for many years.
Vilém Flusser was a Czech-born Brazilian philosopher and writer. Born into a family of Jewish intellectuals, he enrolled at the Juridical Faculty of Charles University in Prague. Most of his family was killed during the Holocaust. He survived and went on to pursue an academic career. He wrote many books, including the vastly popular Towards a Philosophy of Photography.
One of the pioneers of the Brazilian modernist movement, Mário de Andrade introduced a signature prose style that mirrored colloquial Brazilian language. Apart from writing poems and novels, he influenced ethnomusicology. He was a skilled photographer, too. Hallucinated City remains one of his most celebrated works.
Carlos Drummond de Andrade was a Brazilian poet and writer. Many critics consider him to be the greatest Brazilian poet of all time. His widely influential poem Canção Amiga has been featured on the 50-cruzado novo bill, making him a cultural icon in Brazil. He was much revered by American poets Mark Strand and Lloyd Schwartz, who translated his works.
João Guimarães Rosa was a Brazilian novelist and short story writer. His only novel, Grande Sertão: Veredas, is considered a revolutionary piece of literature. It is said to be the Brazilian equivalent of James Joyce's Ulysses. He later began a diplomatic career as well. Sadly, he passed away at the peak of his highly successful literary and diplomatic career.
Diane, Duchess of Württemberg is a Brazilian-born French-German painter, sculptor, philanthropist, and writer. One of her best-known works Geburt der Isis is stationed at Altshausen, Germany. The Duchess is a patron of Russia's Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences. In 1979, she established an eponymous foundation to help disadvantaged children.
Ivan Tors was a Hungarian filmmaker, playwright, and screenwriter. He is remembered for producing sci-fi films with stories involving animals and underwater sequences. Tors is also credited with starting a film studio, which is now known as the Greenwich Studios. In 1989, he was posthumously honored by the Academy of Underwater Arts & Sciences with a NOGI Award in Arts.
Ariano Suassuna was a Brazilian author and playwright. He is credited with creating an artistic initiative called the Armorial Movement, which aims at creating art that glorifies the culture of the Brazilian Northeast region. Ariano Suassuna was widely regarded as one of the greatest Brazilian playwrights of his generation.
Oswald de Andrade was a Brazilian poet and novelist. He was also a cultural critic. He was born into a wealthy family and used his wealth to support modernist artists. He is considered one of the founders of Brazilian modernism. He was a member of the Group of Five, consisting of influential painters and writers.
Euclides da Cunha was a Brazilian engineer and journalist. He attended Escola Militar da Praia Vermelha as a young man. He then studied civil engineering and began his career as a journalist. He was elected to the Academia Brasileira de Letras (Brazilian Academy of Letters) in 1903. He was murdered by his wife’s affair partner in 1909.
Gonçalves Dias was a Brazilian lawyer, poet, playwright, ethnographer, and linguist. A major figure of Brazilian Romanticism, he is credited with having composed Canção do exílio, often considered the best known poem of Brazilian literature. He was posthumously awarded the title of national poet of Brazil and is the patron of the 15th chair of the Brazilian Academy of Letters.
Known as The Poet of the Slaves because of his support for abolitionism, Castro Alves was one of the major figures of Brazilian literature. In spite of being trained as a lawyer, he became one of the icons of Brazilian romantic poetry and Condorism. He died of tuberculosis worsened by an amputated foot.
João Cabral de Melo Neto was a Brazilian diplomat and poet. One of the most influential and prominent writers in late Brazilian modernism, Melo Neto received the prestigious Camões Prize in 1990. In 1992, he became the first and only Brazilian poet to date to receive the Neustadt International Prize for Literature.
Brazilian author Afonso Henriques de Lima Barreto was one of the greatest figures of pre-modernism and also a talented journalist. Best known for his iconic novel Triste Fim de Policarpo Quaresma, he was a master of satire. He later suffered from serious bouts of mental illness.
One of the greatest figures of Brazilian modernism, poet Cecília Meireles redefined Portuguese poetry. A feminist, she disliked the word “poetess” and considered it discriminatory. She began writing poems at age 9 and became a teacher at 16. She later also taught at the Federal University.
Graciliano Ramos was a Brazilian politician, modernist writer, and journalist. He is best remembered for his depiction of the problematic situation of the poor occupants of the Brazilian northeast in his novel, Vidas secas. Some of his works, such as Vidas Secas, São Bernardo, and Memórias do Cárcere, have been adapted into films.
A major figure of Brazilian modernism, or Modernismo, Manuel Bandeira initially wished to be an architect but focused on poetry after suffering from tuberculosis. A professor of literature, he also penned works inspired by Symbolist and Parnassian poetry. He was also a translator and a critic.
Joaquim Nabuco was a Brazilian statesman and writer. He is best remembered for playing an important role in the abolitionist movement of Brazil. He campaigned against slavery and established the Brazilian Anti-Slavery Society. After the end of the Brazilian monarchy, Joaquim Nabuco became the first Brazilian ambassador to the United States and served in that position from 1905 to 1910.
Nanette Blitz Konig is a Bergen-Belsen concentration camp survivor. She went to the same school as Anne Frank. Nanette lost her parents and brothers during the Holocaust. She was rescued and moved to England. Later in her life, she gave lectures about the Holocaust and also wrote a book about her experiences during World War II.
Initially a police officer on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro, Rubem Fonseca later focused on writing short stories and novels. Known for his hardcore crime fiction, he showcased extreme violence and sex in his works, which led the Brazilian government to ban some of his works.
Gregorio Duvivier is a Brazilian actor and poet. He specializes in comedy and is one of the members of the comedian troupe Porta dos Fundos. The son of a musician and singer, he was exposed to the show business at an early age. He began his training in acting as a child and made his debut in 2007.
Moacyr Scliar was a Brazilian physician and writer best remembered for his 1981 book Max and the Cats. A prolific writer, Scliar published more than 100 books in Portuguese and his fiction has been translated into many languages including English, French, German, Spanish, Hebrew, and Italian. Moacyr Scliar was inducted into the Brazilian Academy of Letters in 2003.
Gero Camilo is a Brazilian actor, dramatist, and singer-songwriter. He is of mixed heritage and is a descendant of Indigenous, African, Portuguese, and Dutch people. Interested in acting from an early age, he started to act in amateur theater when he was 19 years old. He later graduated from the School of Dramatic Art of the University of São Paulo.
Rachel de Queiroz was a Brazilian writer, journalist, and translator. She achieved national prominence in 1930 with the release of her debut novel O Quinze, which was adapted into a movie in 2004. Rachel became the first female writer to be elected as a member of the Academia Brasileira de Letras in 1977. In 1993, she received the Camões Prize.
Pedro Bial is a Brazilian producer, director, writer, and TV presenter who is best known for hosting the reality show Big Brother Brasil and the variety show Fantástico. He graduated from the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro with a degree in journalism. He began his career as a reporter, gradually making his way to be a TV presenter.
Though Brazilian author Aluízio Azevedo had initially started as a romantic author, he later became one of the greatest figures of the Naturalist movement. Known for his iconic works such as A Brazilian Tenement, he later quit his literary career and became a consul in Argentina.
Rui Ribeiro Couto was a Brazilian diplomat, journalist, magistrate, poet, novelist, and short story writer. He is best remembered for his book Cabocla, which was adapted twice for television. His books have also been translated into several languages including French, Hungarian, Italian, and Swedish.
Erico Verissimo was a Brazilian writer best remembered for his historical trilogy The Time and the Wind. A prolific writer, Erico Verissimo tried his hand at many literary genres such as short stories, children's literature, novels, essays, and travel literature. Many of his books have been translated into English, German, Spanish, French, Dutch, Italian, Japanese, and Russian among other languages.
Nélida Piñon is a Spanish-Brazilian writer best known for her 1984 book The Republic of Dreams. Regarded as one of the most important writers in Brazil, Piñon has been honored with several prestigious awards such as the FIL Award and Prince of Asturias Award. Nélida Piñon also works as a professor and has taught at institutions like Columbia University.
Gregório de Matos, or the Brazilian Villon, was a talented lawyer who at times defended the poor free of cost. He later penned many satirical poems, criticizing the Church. He was exiled to Angola, where he contracted a deadly disease. Upon his return to Brazil, he was barred from releasing his poems.
Brazilian poet Haroldo de Campos is regarded as the founder of the concrete poetry movement in Brazil. He also translated works such as Homer's Iliad into Portuguese. He was also a professor who taught at prestigious institutes such as Yale, the University of Texas, and the Catholic University.
Augusto de Campos is a Brazilian writer, translator, visual artist, and music critic. He is best known for founding the Concrete poetry movement as well as a literary magazine called Noigandres along with his brother Haroldo de Campos. Augusto de Campos' contributions were honored with the prestigious Order of Cultural Merit in 2015.
João da Cruz e Sousa was a Brazilian journalist and poet best remembered as one of the first Symbolist poets from Brazil. His books Broquéis and Missal, which he published in 1893, introduced the Symbolist movement in Brazil. As a journalist, João da Cruz e Sousa worked for the famous newspaper Tribuna Popular and wrote abolitionist articles.
Ciro Pessoa was a Brazilian singer-songwriter, lyricist, guitarist, and journalist. He was one of the founding members of the influential rock band Titãs. He developed an early interest in music and began to perform in local music festivals when he was just 12. Throughout his career, he formed numerous musical projects and also performed solo.
Bernardo Guimarães was a Brazilian novelist and poet. He is best remembered for his popular romantic novels, O Seminarista and A Escrava Isaura. As a poet, he is credited with introducing the verso bestialógico to Brazilian poetry. Bernardo Guimarães also worked as a teacher and taught Rhetoric, Poetics, French, and Latin.
Tomás Antônio Gonzaga was a Brazilian poet who also served as the ombudsman and the ouvidor of the city of Ouro Preto. His life and career have been featured in many Brazilian films and telenovels. Popular actors like Eduardo Galvão, Luiz Linhares, and Gianfrancesco Guarnieri have played Tomás Antônio Gonzaga on-screen.