Zélia Gattai Amado de Faria (July 2, 1916 – May 17, 2008) was a Brazilian photographer, memoirist, novelist and author of children's literature, as well as a member of the Brazilian Academy of Letters. Gattai has written 14 different literary works, including children's books and her own personal memoirs that have been widely published.
|Born||July 2, 1916|
São Paulo, Brazil
|Died||May 17, 2008 (aged 91)|
Salvador, Bahia, Brazil
|Education||B.A. in French Civilization, Phonetics, and Language|
|Alma mater||University of Sorbonne, Paris, France|
(m. 1936; div. 1944)
(m. 1978; died 2001)
|Awards||See "Awards and Dedications"|
Gattai was born in São Paulo city in the neighborhood of Paraíso, state of São Paulo, on July 2, 1916, to a family of Italian immigrant. Gattai's father, Ernesto Gattai, was an anarchist and came from the region of Veneto, following the social anarchist experiment called Colônia Cecília that sought to create an anarchist community in the Brazilian jungle. Her father was arrested in 1938 due to political oppression under the Vargas Estado Novo regime. Gattai lived in Paraíso, São Paulo for her entire adolescence.
In the 1930s, Zélia Gattai entered the intellectual and social circles of the modernists of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, becoming a friend of personalities such as Oswald de Andrade, Lasar Segall, Tarsila do Amaral, Mário de Andrade, Rubem Braga, Zora Seljan, Paulo Mendes de Almeida, Carlos Lacerda, Aldo Bonadei, Vinícius de Moraes and others. At the age of 20, Zélia Gattai married Communist militant Aldo Veiga and had her first child, Luís Carlos Veiga, with him. Their marriage ended after eight years and Gattai ended up falling in love with writer and communist Jorge Amado. The new couple decided to live together in 1945 and had their first child, João Jorge Amado, together in 1946. Due to political condemnation by the Vargas regime, Zélia Gattai and her family were forced to leave Brazil and decided to relocate to Europe. The family spent the first part of the five year exile in Paris where Gattai used the opportunity to get a degree in French Civilization, Phonetics, and Language at the University of Sorbonne in 1949. They later relocated to Prague where they lived for 1950 to 1952. It is in Prague that their third child, Paloma Jorge Amado, was born and Gattai discovered her passion for photography.
The family returned to Brazil in 1952 and moved into Gattai's parents house in Rio de Janeiro for the next eleven years. In 1963 the family moved to Salvador in the state of Bahia and would remain there for the remainder of Gattai's life. While living in Salvador, Gattai began to focus on her literary career. Zélia Gattai passed away in Salvador on May 17, 2008 at the age of 91.
Zélia Gattai began her literary career in 1979 with an autobiography about her early life and the reality of Italian immigrants in Brazil, titled Anarquistas, Graças a Deus ("Anarchists, Thanks to God"). This memoir quickly became a bestseller and it was dramatized as a miniseries directed by Walter Avancini and created by the Globo Television Network in 1984 which allowed it to capture a large audience. Throughout her career, Gattai explored many genres including memoirs, children's literature, and romance novels. Many of her publications also included photography taken by Gattai that allowed her to create photo-biographies to further her story. In total, Gattai wrote 14 works including three successful children's books, 10 memoirs and one romance novel. On the death of Amado in 2001, Gattai was elected to the vacant 23rd seat in the Brazilian Academy of Letters.
Throughout her literary career, Zélia Gattai was recognized with many awards and honors. She was given the following awards:
In her lifetime, Gattai was also awarded the following titles:
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Patrons and members of the Brazilian Academy of Letters
1 to 10
1 (Adelino Fontoura): Luís Murat ►
Afonso d'Escragnolle Taunay ►
Ivan Monteiro de Barros Lins ►
Bernardo Élis ►
Evandro Lins e Silva ►
Ana Maria Machado
11 to 20
11 (Fagundes Varela): Lúcio de Mendonça ►
Pedro Augusto Carneiro Lessa ►
Eduardo Ramos ►
João Luís Alves ►
Adelmar Tavares ►
Deolindo Couto ►
Darcy Ribeiro ►
Celso Furtado ►
Hélio Jaguaribe ►
Ignácio de Loyola Brandão
21 to 30
21 (Joaquim Serra): José do Patrocínio ►
Mário de Alencar ►
Olegário Mariano ►
Álvaro Moreira ►
Adonias Filho ►
Dias Gomes ►
Roberto Campos ►
31 to 40
31 (Pedro Luís Pereira de Sousa): Luís Caetano Pereira Guimarães Júnior ►
João Batista Ribeiro de Andrade Fernandes ►
Paulo Setúbal ►
Cassiano Ricardo ►
José Cândido de Carvalho ►
Geraldo França de Lima ►
Moacyr Scliar ►