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Lençoenses personalities

Tourism Department

Origenes Lessa.jpg

Origins Lessa

Journalist, short story writer, novelist, novelist and essayist, he was born in Lençóis Paulista, on July 12, 1903, and died in Rio de Janeiro on July 13, 1986. Elected on July 9, 1981 for Chair n. 10 of the Academia Brasileira de Letras, in succession to Osvaldo Orico, was received on November 20, 1981, by academic Francisco de Assis Barbosa. Son of Vicente Themudo Lessa, historian, journalist and Protestant pastor from Pernambuco, and Henriqueta Pinheiro Themudo Lessa.


In 1906, he was taken by his family to São Luís do Aranhão, where he grew up until he was 9 years old, following his father's journey as a missionary. From his childhood experience resulted the novel Rua do Sol. In 1912, he returned to São Paulo. At age 19, he entered a Protestant seminary, which he left two years later. In 1924, he moved to Rio de Janeiro. Willingly separated from his family, he struggled with great hardship. To support himself, he dedicated himself to teaching. He completed a Physical Education course, becoming a gym instructor at the Young Men's Christian Association Physical Education Institute. He entered journalism, publishing his first articles in the "Tribuna Social-Operária" section.  from The Impartial. Lessa Origins | Source: Directorate of Culture. In 1928, he enrolled in the Dramatic School of Rio de Janeiro, then directed by Coelho Neto, aiming at theater as a way of performing. He saluted Coelho Neto, on behalf of his colleagues, when the novelist was acclaimed "Prince of Brazilian Writers". Still in 1928, he returned to São Paulo, where he joined the Propaganda Department of General Motors as a translator, where he remained until 1931. In 1929, he began writing for the Diário da Noite in São Paulo and published the first collection of short stories, O writer forbidden. , warmly received by Medeiros and Albuquerque, João Ribeiro, Menotti del Picchia and Sud Menucci. This collection was followed by Garçon, garçonnette, garçonnière, an honorable mention from the Brazilian Academy of Letters, and A cidade que o diaboforo.  


In 1932, he took an active part in the Constitutionalist Revolution, during which he was arrested and removed to Rio de Janeiro. In Ilha Grande prison, he wrote Não há de ser nada, a report on the Constitutionalist Revolution, and Ilha Grande, a prisoner of war newspaper, two works that projected him in literary circles. That same year, he joined NY Ayer & Son as a copywriter, an activity he carried out for more than 40 years in successive advertising agencies. He returned to literary activity, publishing the collection of short stories Passa-three and, later, the novel O Jogote and the novel “O Feijo e o Dream”, a work that won the Antônio de Alcântara Machado Prize and had an extraordinary success, including in the its adaptation as a telenovela.  


In 1942, he moved to New York to work at the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs, having been a writer at NBC on programs broadcast to Brazil. In 1943, back in Rio de Janeiro, he gathered in the volume "Ok, América" the reports and interviews written in the United States. He continued his literary activity, publishing new collections of short stories, novels and novels. From 1970 onwards, he also dedicated himself to children's literature, publishing almost 40 titles in this area, which made him an author known and loved by Brazilian children and young people. He received numerous literary prizes: Antônio de Alcântara Machado Prize (1939), for the novel “The beans and the dream”; Carmem Dolores Barbosa Award (1955), for the novel “Rua do Sol”; Fernando Chinaglia Award (1968), for the novel “A noite sem homem”; Luísa Cláudio de Sousa Award (1972), for the novel “The Gospel of Lázaro”.

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