• Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis (1839-1908) is considered to be one of the greatest writers from Brazil and perhaps “the greatest writer ever produced in Latin America,” according to writer Susan Sontag. His most famous novel is The Posthumous Memoirs of Brás Cubas, which chronicles one man’s romantic pursuits. Here’s a great article from The New York Times from 2008 about his legacy.
• Poet and novelist Mario de Andrade (1893-1945) was an innovator in many ways — by promoting music, modern art and literature around the country; by using magic realism in his best known novel, Macunaíma; and by writing in Brazilian dialect instead of formal Portuguese in his poems, which are collected in the book Poesias Completas.
• Paulo Coelho is the author of one of the world’s most read books, The Alchemist, which has been on The New York Times best-seller list for more than 250 weeks. His other books include Veronika Decides to Die, as well as recent best-sellers Aleph and Manuscript Found in Accra. A movie based on his life is in the works.
• Jorge Amado won acclaim for his 32 books — including Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon and Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands — that reflected his country’s culture and people. The BBC ran this great story about his life and work last year for his 100th birthday and the Jorge Amado Foundation website has a great overview about his work.
• Paulo Lins wrote the 1997 novel City of God, which became a 2002 Academy Award-nominated movie. In this New York Times article, he talked about growing up in the poor neighborhoods of Rio de Janeiro with blacks and immigrants.
Sources: Wikipedia, The New York Times, Encyclopedia Britannica, Matueté