João Ubaldo Ribeiro

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João Ubaldo Ribeiro
Joao Ubaldo Ribeiro.jpg
Born (1941-01-23)January 23, 1941
Itaparica, Bahia
Died July 18, 2014(2014-07-18) (aged 73)
Rio de Janeiro
Nationality Brazilian
Occupation Author

João Ubaldo Ribeiro (January 23, 1941 – July 18, 2014) was a Brazilian writer, journalist, screenwriter and professor. Several of his books and short tales have been turned into movies and TV series in Brazil. Ribeiro was member of the Brazilian Academy of Letters, being elected in 1994. At the time of his death many considered him to be Brazil's greatest contemporary novelist.[1]


Ribeiro was the first of three children of the couple Manoel Ribeiro and Maria Felipa Osório Pimental. As Ribeiro was two months old, the family moved to Aracaju in Sergipe. Early on, he began to be interested in literature. From 1955 he attended the Colégio da Bahia, along with Glauber Rocha, with whom he became friends in 1956.

In 1957 he was working for local newspapers as a journalist for the first time. He started in 1958 at the Universidade Federal da Bahia to study Law. During this time he published several magazines and journals culture together with Glauber Rocha. 1959 his work "Lugar e circunstancia" was published (Eng. "Place and Circumstance") in an anthology of stories from Bahia. Ribeiro 1960 married his first wife, Maria Beatriz Moreira Caldas, a fellow student. They were divorced nine years later. In 1963 he wrote his first novel Setembro não faz sentido.

In 1964 Ribeiro left the country for political reasons and went to the United States to study economics. But in 1965 he returned to Brazil and lectured in political science at the Universidade Federal da Bahia. After six years, he was, however, back on his academic career and went back to journalism. In 1969 he married the historian Monica Maria Roters, with whom he has two daughters: Emilia (b. 1970) and Manuela (b. 1972).

In 1971 his novel Sargento Getúlio was published, with which he made his breakthrough as a writer. In 1974, his book Vencecavalo e o outro povo came out. In 1980, Ribeiro had his third marriage with Berenice Batella with whom he had two children, Bento (born 1981) and Francisca (b. 1983). In 1981 he went, along with his family, a scholarship to Lisbon. There he writes for the magazine Caretta.

Since his return to Brazil, he lived in Rio de Janeiro.

He has lived in Berlin between 1990/91 as a participant of the Berlin Artists Program of the DAAD . He has written in several newspaper articles and then a selection of these texts telling his experiences in the city was summarized in the book Um Brasileiro em Berlim.

In 1994 Ribeiro was inducted to the Brazilian Academy of Letters, occupying the seat 34.

2008 Ribeiro received the Prémio Camões, the most important Portuguese-speaking literary prize.[2] He died at the age of 73 on July 18, 2014.[3]

Awards and recognitions[edit]

  • 1971 Prêmio Golfinho de Ouro, do Estado do Rio de Janeiro foir the novel "Sargento Getúlio".
  • Two Jabuti Prizes, for Sargento Getúlio Best Author, 1972) and Viva o Povo Brasileiro" (Novel of the Year,1984)
  • 1983 Prêmio Altamente Recomendável - Fundação Nacional do Livro Infantil e Juvenil,, for "Vida e Paixão de Pandonar, o Cruel" ;
  • 1996 Anna Seghers Prize, (Mainz, Germany);
  • Die Blaue Brillenschlange (Zurich, Switzerland);
  • 1996-Head of the Chair of Poetik Dozentur, Tübingen University, Germany;[4]
  • 2006 Lifetime Achievement Award- Brazilian International Press Awards.
  • 2008 Camões Prize
  • 2010 São Paulo Prize for Literature — Shortlisted in the Best Book of the Year category for O Albatroz Azul[5]

Partial bibliography[edit]


  • Setembro não tem sentido (pt) [September has no Sense]. 1968. 
  • Sargento Getúlio (pt) [Sergeant Getúlio]. 1971. 
  • Vila Real [Real Town]. 1979. 
  • Viva o povo brasileiro (Hail the Brazilian People, self-translated as An Invincible Memory) - 1984
  • O sorriso do lagarto (The Lizard's Smile) - 1989
  • O feitiço da Ilha do Pavão (The Sorcery of Peacock Island) - 1997
  • A casa dos Budas ditosos (The House of the Fortunate Buddhas) - 1999
  • Diário do Farol (The Lighthouse's Diary) - 2002
  • O Albatroz Azul (The Blue Albatross) - 2009

Children's books[edit]

  • Vida e paixão de Pandomar, o cruel [Life and Passion of Pandomar, the Cruel]. 1983. 
  • A vingança de Charles Tiburone [The Revenge of Charles Tiburone]. 1990. 


  1. ^ Vitor Abdala (July 18, 2014). "Brazil Loses What Many Consider Its Best Contemporary Novelist". Brazil Magazine. Archived from the original on July 22, 2014. Retrieved July 21, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Morreu o escritor brasileiro João Ubaldo Ribeiro Prémio Camões 2008". RTP Notícias. 18 July 2014. Retrieved 18 July 2014. 
  3. ^ Torres, Sérgio (18 July 2014). "João Ubaldo Ribeiro morre aos 73 anos no Rio". O Estado de S. Paulo (in Portuguese). Retrieved 18 July 2014. 
  4. ^ "Poetik-Dozenturen 1996 - 2004". Universität Tübingen- Philosophische Fakultät (in German). 
  5. ^ MARCO RODRIGO ALMEIDA (29 May 2010). "Prêmio São Paulo de Literatura divulga finalistas". Folha de S.Paulo. Retrieved 6 April 2013. 

External links[edit]