About Ferreira Gullar – One of the most influential Brazilians of the 20th century
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December 4th 2016 was a sad day in Brazil. The country lost one of its most important writers. Ferreira Gullar, pen name of José Ribamar Ferreira, died of pneumonia in Rio at the age of 86 after a lifetime of seminal contributions to the Brazilian culture.
Elected a member of the Brazilian Academy of Letters in 2014, Gullar was a poet, playwright, essayist and fiction writer. He was awarded the Jabuti, the most important literary prize in Brazil, for the book Resmungos, in the category of best fiction work of 2007.
Born in Sao Luis, Maranhão, in the northeast of Brazil, on September 10, 1930, Gullar was a key figure in the creation of the neo-concrete art movement in Rio de Janeiro at the end of the 1950s, which believed artworks should stress sensitivity, personal expression and audience interation with the artistic object, thus contributing to its meaning.
During the Brazilian military dictatorship (1964-1985), Gullar was forced to flee the country, living in Moscow, Santiago, Lima and Buenos Aires. It was in Buenos Aires that he wrote his best-known book, Poema Sujo (Dirty Poem, in English) in the mid-seventies. Back in Brazil in 1977, he was arrested and tortured, but finally released due to the enormous international pressure. He then began to work in the Brazilian press and also as a TV script writer.
Ferreira Gullar leaves two children, eight grandchildren and his current partner Claudia. His last book (Autobiografia Poética e Outros Textos) has been launched this year.