13 Best Brazilian Authors Of All Time

Brazilian literature has a tremendous amount of depth, character, and history behind it. These are some of the top Brazilian authors of all time.

Brazil has a rich cultural history. Brazilian writers have influenced writers across the globe. While many of their works are written in Portuguese, many have been translated into English, allowing everyone to read and experience their stories.

From Sao Paulo to Rio De Janeiro, Brazilian and Latin American writers have had a massive impact on writing and literature, particularly the staples of magical realism and modernism. Brazilian literature still shows the influence of Portugal but has developed into a distinct entity on its own.

Popular Brazilian Authors

Best Brazilian Authors

If you are ready to explore this world for yourself, take a look at some of the top Brazilian authors of all time.

1. Euclides da Cunha

Best Brazilian authors: Euclides da Cunha
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One of the greatest Brazilian writers of all time is Euclides da Cunha. In addition to his career as a writer, he was a successful journalist, soldier, and politician. During his life, the country went through a tremendous amount of strife. This is reflected in his work.

His most famous work is Backlands: the Canudos Campaign, a report discussing the War of Canudos. This was a war between the federal government of Brazil and a rebellion taking place in the Bahia State with people rebelling against the government. Even though propaganda tried to paint the rebels as if they were trying to overthrow the government, da Cunha painted a very different picture.

You might also enjoy our list of the best Ethiopian authors and the best Mexican authors.

Backlands: The Canudos Campaign (Penguin Classics)
  • da Cunha, Euclides (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 560 Pages - 05/25/2010 (Publication Date) - Penguin Classics (Publisher)

2. Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis

Best Brazilian authors: Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis
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Without a doubt, Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis is considered one of the fathers of Brazilian literature. His stories have playful themes, and he has drawn many comparisons to Laurence Sterne. While many works stuck to a very rigid structure, he removed those shackles and let them loose in his stories.

He is also considered a top Brazilian short story writer. There was still a tremendous amount of racism during his life in Brazil, but his success as a novelist contributed to a greater degree of equality in Brazil for all. 

One of his most famous works is called Epitaph of a Small Winner. This is a novel that tells the story of a dead narrator who insists on telling his life story his way. 

Epitaph of a Small Winner
  • Hardcover Book
  • DE ASSIS, Machado (Author)
  • 11/28/1967 (Publication Date) - Farrar (Publisher)

3. Jorge Amado

Best Brazilian authors: Jorge Amado
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Jorge Amado is arguably the most famous Brazilian writer of all time. He received both critical acclaim and tremendous popular appeal during his life, writing a wide variety of popular books. For example, one of his books, Dona Flor and her Two Husbands, was published in 1966 and remained one of the classic works of Brazilian literature.

He also had a humorous side, endearing him to his readers. Another one of his most famous books is Captains of the Sands, published in 1937. This demonstrates that he had a successful career that spanned almost seven decades.

If you want to check out some of his work for yourself, consider picking up a copy of Dona Flor and her Two Husbands, which is a story about gambling, cooking, love, and so much more.

Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands
  • Sonia Braga, Jose Wilker (Actor)
  • English (Subtitle)
  • Audience Rating: Unrated (Not Rated)

4. Clarice Lispector

Best Brazilian authors: Clarice Lispector
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Clarice Lispector was one of the most famous Brazilian writers during the 20th century. She was originally from Ukraine, but her family was Jewish. She fled the Soviet Union as a child to escape persecution.

She employed many of the same techniques as some of the other top writers of the twentieth century. Her first published work remains one of her most famous, titled Near to the Wild Heart. The narrative of this work focuses on her protagonists’ inner lives. 

Near to the Wild Heart: A Novel
  • Used Book in Good Condition
  • Lispector, Clarice (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 192 Pages - 09/17/1990 (Publication Date) - New Directions (Publisher)

5. Hilda Hilst

Best Brazilian authors: Hilda Hilst
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Hilst is from South Paulo, and she is known for mixing a wide variety of genres to create her amazing works. She has written books, poems, and even theatrical plays. During her long career, she also tried out a wide variety of writing styles.

She graduated with a law degree from Sao Paula in the 1950s but decided to move to Campinas, where she began her writing career.

One of her most famous works is titled With My Dog Eyes. This was published in 1986 and is a collection of short stories and novellas. This is a great way to explore her writing, as it was her first foray into writing in English. 

With My Dog Eyes: A Novel
  • Hilst, Hilda (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 96 Pages - 04/29/2014 (Publication Date) - Melville House (Publisher)

6. Rubem Fonseca

Rubem Fonseca is a Brazilian writer who works and lives in Rio de Janeiro. Even though his primary career is as a state prosecutor, he has also become a popular Brazilian short story writer and novelist. Rio de Janeiro has a tremendous amount of crime, and many of his works focus on the underbelly of this famous city.

He started writing during the 1970s, and his works became so popular that he decided to turn this into a very successful second career. He focuses on literary crime fiction, using his experiences as a police officer as fodder for his stories.

He has published two popular short story collections. The first is called Taker and Other Stories, while the second is called The Crimes of August

Crimes of August: A Novel (Brazilian Literature in Translation Series)
  • Fonseca, Rubem (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 296 Pages - 04/01/2014 (Publication Date) - Tagus Press (Publisher)

7. Paulo Coelho

Best Brazilian authors: Paulo Coelho
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Paulo Coelho is one of the most famous Brazilian writers of all time. His life got off to a very rough start, as he was put in a mental health hospital by his parents during his teenage years because of his rebellious attitude. He was released when he was 20 and began a career as a musician and songwriter.

He traveled the world during his music career, and he gained a lot of experiences that served as a strong foundation for his career as a writer. This Brazilian author found a tremendous amount of success. Two of his most beloved works include The Alchemist and By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept

By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept: A Novel of Forgiveness
  • Coelho, Paulo (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 180 Pages - 08/03/2021 (Publication Date) - HarperOne (Publisher)

8. Moacyr Scliar

Best Brazilian authors: Moacyr Scliar
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Scliar was a popular writer who chronicles his experiences of a Jewish person living in Brazil. He was born in Porto Alegre, in the southern part of the country, and spent his life living there. This is a city known for its large German population, but during World War II, numerous immigrants moved to the area to escape the persecution of the Nazi regime. As a result, many of his works focus on what life was like during this time.

One of his most famous works is Max and Cats, which is incredibly popular overseas. Of note, there are a lot of similarities to another well-known work, Life of Pi by Yann Martel. Max and Cats was published about twenty years before Life of PI, leading to a dispute regarding plagiarism. 

Max and the Cats
  • Scliar, Moacyr (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 128 Pages - 11/25/2003 (Publication Date) - Plume (Publisher)

9. Adriana Lisboa

Best Brazilian authors: Adriana Lisboa
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Adriana Lisboa is a young Brazilian writer who has already left her mark on literature. She was born in Rio de Janeiro, but she moved to France at a relatively young age. Then, she moved to the United States, where she lives today.

Given her experiences, many of her works are focused on characters who move to other countries. Her works develop into flowing narratives as her characters change and evolve due to experiences in different cultures overseas. At the same time, it is clear that the characters, and Lisboa herself, still have an attachment to their home countries.

If you want to read some of her work for yourself, you should check out Crow Blue. This is a powerful novel about a child who finds herself after her mother passes away at a very young age.

Crow Blue: A Novel
  • Lisboa, Adriana (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 240 Pages - 07/08/2014 (Publication Date) - Bloomsbury USA (Publisher)

10. Bernardo Carvalho

Best Brazilian authors: Bernardo Carvalho
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Bernardo Carvalho is one of the youngest Brazilian authors, but he is already widespread. He has worked as a correspondent and journalist in New York and Paris, and he uses his experiences in these other cultures to fuel his writing. His work shines through the multicultural background of a young professional living overseas.

In particular, one famous work is titled Nine Nights, which has been translated into English. It talks about a young American who takes his own life while in Brazil. Then, seven letters are discovered discussing his reasons for his actions. 

Nine Nights
  • Hardcover Book
  • Carvalho, Bernardo (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 288 Pages - 04/03/2007 (Publication Date) - William Heinemann (Publisher)

11. Mario de Andrade

Best Brazilian authors: Mario de Andrade
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Another incredibly popular Brazilian writer is Mario de Andrade, a famous essayist, novelist, critic, historian, and photographer. He is widely considered one of the founders of the modernist movement in Brazil, and he has had a massive impact on just about every Brazilian writer who has come after him.

He lived his entire life in Sao Paula, and he watched his country go through a tremendous amount of strife during his life. Much of this is reflected in his works, as he uses his writing to critique much of what he saw as social and economic injustice. His work is still studied and admired to this day. Many of his works have also been made into movies. 

If you want to explore his work for yourself, you should check out Macunaima. This is arguably his most celebrated work, and it is celebrated throughout Brazil. This book was made into a movie in 1969. 

  • Hardcover Book
  • 11/29/2022 (Publication Date) - FisicalBook (Publisher)

12. Carlos Drummond

Best Brazilian authors: Carlos Drummond
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Carlos Drummond was a Brazilian writer and poet. Some consider him one of the best Brazilian poets of all time. He has become a national cultural symbol in Brazil, and he has been featured on the country’s currency.

He was born in Itabira but spent most of his life living in Rio de Janeiro. Many of his works reflect what was happening in Brazil during the 20th century when the country underwent a tremendous change. His most famous works include A Rosa do Povo and Multitudinous Heart.

Multitudinous Heart: Selected Poems: A Bilingual Edition
  • Drummond de Andrade, Carlos (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 432 Pages - 06/23/2015 (Publication Date) - Farrar, Straus and Giroux (Publisher)

13. Cecilia de Meireles

Best Brazilian authors: Cecilia de Meireles
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Cecilia de Meireles was a Brazilian educator and writer. She spent most of her career teaching children in Rio de Janeiro, but she also enjoyed a successful career as a poet. Many of her published poems focused on the traditions seen throughout Brazilian culture and have an air of mystery about them.

Countless generations of Brazilians praise her unique writing style. In addition to her work as a poet and teacher, she also spent time writing as a journalist. Her lyrical style was reflected in her journalism and her writing. 

If you want to experience her work for yourself, you should pick up a copy of Romanceiro de Inconfidencia, a collection of poems. You will be moved by what you read.

Romanceiro da Inconfidência
  • Cecília Meireles (Author)
  • French (Publication Language)
  • 11/29/2022 (Publication Date) - Editora Nova Fronteira (Publisher)

The Final Word On Brazilian Authors

From poetry to short stories and novels, these top Brazilian authors have a lot to offer. 

You might also be interested in our round-up of the best Ukrainian authors.

FAQs About Brazilian Authors?

Who Is The Most Famous Brazilian Author?

Many people also consider either Paulo Coelho or Jorge Amado the most famous Brazilian author of all time.

Who Are Some Up And Coming Brazilian Authors?

Keep an eye out for Carol Chiovatto, Aline Bei, and Vitor Martins.

Further Reading

If you enjoyed learning about the best Brazilian authors, you might also be interested in checking out the Best American Authors and the Best Russian Authors


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