Antônio, João 1937–1996
Antônio, João 1937–1996
(João Antônio Ferreira)
PERSONAL: Born January 27, 1937, in São Paulo, Brazil; died 1996, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; son of João Antônio and Irene Gomes Ferreira; married Marília Mendonça de Andrade; children: Daniel Pedro de Andrade Ferreira. Education: Attended Escola de Journalismo Casper Líbero, 1958.
CAREER: Jornal do Brasil, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, staff member, 1964–66; founder of review Realidade, 1966; also worked in Rio de Janeiro for magazine Manchete, and for newspapers O Globo and Diário de Notícias.
AWARDS, HONORS: Fábio Prado prize, 1963, for Malagueta, Perus e Bacanaço; Jabuti prize, Câmara Brasileira do Livro, for best collection of short stories and for best new author, both 1963, both for Malagueta, Perus e Bacanaç, and 1993, for Guardador; Paraná prize, 1974, for Leão-de-chácara; Associação Paulista dos Criticos de Arte fiction prize; Pen Club Prize, and Candango trophy, both 1983, both for Dedo-duro; Golfinho de Ouro trophy, Pedro Nava prize, and Oswald de Andrade trophy, all 1986, all for Abraçado ao Meu Rancor.
Malagueta, Perus e Bacanaço (short stories), Editora Civilização Brasileira (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1963.
Leão-de-chácara; (includes "Joãozinho de Babilônia" and "Um Conto da Boca do Lixo: Paulinho Perna Torta"), Editora Civilizaçã o Brasileira (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1975.
Malhação do Judas Carioca (short stories), Editora Civilização Brasileira (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1975.
Casa de Loucos, Editora Civilização Brasileira (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1976.
Calvário e Porres de Pingente Afonso Henriques de Lima Barreto, Editora Civilização Brasileira (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1977.
Lambões de Caçarola: Trabalhadores do Brasil, L & PM Editores (Porto Alegre, Brazil), 1977.
Ô Copacabana! (short stories), Editora Civilização Brasileira (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1978, published as Ô Copacabana!: e dois contos inéditos, Cosac & Naify (São Paulo, Brazil), 2001.
Guardador (short stories), Editora Civilização Brasileira (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1980.
Dedo-duro, Editora Civilização Brasileira (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1982.
10 Contos Escolhidos (short stories), Horizonte Editora (Brasília, Brazil), 1983.
Meninâo do Caixote, Editora Record (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1983.
Abraçado ao Meu Rancor (short stories), Editora Guanabara (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1986.
Zicartola e que Tudo Mais Vá pro Inferno!, Editora Scipione (São Paulo, Brazil), 1991.
Dama do Encantado, Editora Record (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1996.
Cartas aos amigos Caio Porfírio Carneiro e Fábio Lucas, Atelié (Cotia, Brazil), 2005.
SIDELIGHTS: Brazilian writer João Antônio was born in a working-class neighborhood of São Paulo, an environment that would provide the background and characters for many of his short stories and journalistic works. His first writings were published in a children's magazine when he was just fifteen. Soon after that, he began frequenting pool halls and became familiar with the margins of São Paulo society that would also influence his work. His first collection of short stories, Malagueta, Perus e Bacanaço, set in the three São Paulo neighborhoods of the title, tells of three young pool players.
After moving to Rio de Janeiro in 1964, Antônio worked as a journalist for a variety of newspapers and magazines. A few years later, he published his prizewinning collection of stories Leão-de-chácara, which further depicts the slums of urban Brazil. Known as a solitary figure of little pretense, he was committed to writing accurately about Brazilian society. As Tania Celestino de Macêdo observed on the Web site Uma Coisa e Outra, "Antônio puts his readers in contact with spaces, situations and characters who constitute the other side of images contained in television soap operas or in certain types of literature full of happy endings."
When published in 1963, Malagueta, Perus e Bacanaço won several awards, a feat doubly remarkable given that the original manuscript was lost in a fire and Antônio had to rewrite the entire book. According to a contributor for JB Online, the judging panel for the Fábio Prado prize stated: "The urban realism of São Paulo is vividly brought to life by the use of authentic characters, by a dramatic concept made real through profound lyricism portraying the human condition." This realism may have stemmed from Antônio's journalism background, about which Celestino remarked: "His journalistic texts bear the mark of a meticulous, agile writer, who, beyond providing information, does not leave thoughtfulness behind." His attention to detail carried over into the author's fiction. As Mário Satto remarked in an online article for Subcultura, Antônio's works reflect a "deliberate decision to produce a literature reflecting poorly illuminated areas of Brazilian life: 'soccer, rural exodus, housing, health, political life.'"
Other works by Antônio received plaudits and prizes, as well. For example, in a review of Ô Copacabana! for Estado online, critic Haroldo Ceravolo Sereza asserted that the work "reveals the best of João Antônio, master of a brute style, capable of showing what stereotype (or ideology) hides." The author's short story collection Abraçado ao Meu Rancor was also an award winner. It includes Antônio's usual tales of urban São Paulo, such as a story about racism against a black soccer coach, and a tale relating the daily life of a man who struggles to find work as a guard protecting other people's cars.
Despite his success as an author, Antônio was well known for his modesty and unwillingness to participate in formal literary events and scholarly circles. However, he welcomed discussion of his work in classrooms and frequently traveled across the country to speak with aspiring writers and offer them encouragement.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Estado, http://www.estado.com.br/ (February 10, 2001), Haroldo Ceravolo Sereza, review of Ô Copacabana!
JB Online, http://jbonline.terra.com.br/ (June 18, 2001), Bertholdo de Castro, "A Cidade Perdida de João Antônio"; (June 18, 2001) Bertholdo de Castro, "Literatura e Bilhar."
Subcultura, http://www.subcultura.net/ (February 21, 2000), Mário Satto, "Em Defensa da Literatura Lus-Afro-Tpuinquim."
Uma Coisa e Outra, http://www.umacoisaeoutra.com.br/ (January 21, 2006), Tania Celestino de Macêdo, "João Antônio, esse (des)conhecido"; (January 21, 2006) Paulo Maldonado, "João Antônio."