Ribeiro, João Ubaldo (1941–)

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Ribeiro, João Ubaldo (1941–)

João Ubaldo Ribeiro (b. 1941), Brazilian author. Born on the island of Itaparica, off the coast of Bahia, Ribeiro spent his childhood in the state of Sergipe. Though he graduated from law school, he never pursued a legal career, becoming a journalist before turning to writing full time. A man of the world, he has lived in Bahia, as a university professor and editor of the Tribuna da Bahia; in Rio de Janeiro, as a journalist; in the United States, where he earned a master's degree in political sciences from the University of Southern California; in Portugal, as a recipient of a Gulbenkian scholarship; and in Germany, as a fellow of the Deutscher Akademicher Austranschdiens. Upon returning to Brazil shortly after celebrating his fortieth birthday, and feeling pressured by urban life, he moved back to his hometown in Itaparica, where he found the spiritual peace he craved to continue writing his books.

At age twenty-one Ribeiro published Semana da Pátria (National Week, 1962), which was followed by Sargento Getúlio (1971), the novel that earned him not only Brazilian fame but also world recognition. Its subject focuses on the paradoxical personality and isolation of a "strongman." With more than ten editions, the novel was the theme of a motion picture in Brazil and has been translated into more than six languages. Ribeiro's later books also received critical acclaim and high public praise: Viva o povo brasileiro (1984; An Invincible Memory, 1989) and O sorriso do lagarto (1989; The Iguana's Smile), which became a television miniseries in Brazil, A Casa dos Budas Ditosos (1999), Miséria e grandeza do amor de Benedita, (2000), which was the first electronic novel to be published in Brazil, and Diário do Farol (2002). In addition to his many novels, Ribeiro publishes frequently in the daily newspaper O Globo.

See alsoJournalism; Literature: Brazil.


Cremilda De Araújo Medina, "João Ubaldo Ribeiro," in A posse da terra: Escritor Brasileiro hoje (1983), pp. 371-372.

Thomas Colchie, "João Ubaldo Ribeiro," in A Hammock Beneath the Mangoes: Stories from Latin America (1992), pp. 184-185.

Additional Bibliography

Coutinho, Wilson. João Ubaldo Ribeiro: Um estilo da seducao. Rio de Janeiro: Relume Dumará, 1998.

Domínguez, Mignon. Historia, ficción y metaficción en la novela latinoamericana contemporánea. Buenos Aires: Corregidor, 1996.

                                           Regina Igel