Project Description

Grande sertãoJoão Guimarães Rosa


João Guimarães Rosa, born in 1908 in Cordisburgo, Brazil, was a novelist and short-story writer whose innovative prose style, drawn from Brazil’s hinterlands’ oral tradition, revitalized Brazilian fiction in the mid-20th century. His portrayal of the conflicts of the Brazilian backlanders in Minas Gerais reflects the challenges of an isolated rural society adapting to a modern urban world.

Initially studying medicine in Belo Horizonte, Guimarães Rosa later pursued a diplomatic career, attaining ambassadorial rank in 1963. “Sagarana” (1946), a collection of short stories, marked his literary breakthrough. Despite diplomatic duties, he published “Corpo de Baile” (1956), a collection of novellas, and his monumental epic novel “Grande Sertão: Veredas” (1956), solidifying his international reputation. Transitioning to short stories, he released “Primeiras Estórias” (1962) before his death in 1967, leaving a legacy as one of Brazil’s and the world’s greatest writers who ever lived.

João Guimarães Rosa© João Guimarães Rosa


The Devil to Pay in the Backlands

Set in Brazil’s high plateaus, The Devil to Pay in the Backlands (“Grande Sertão: Veredas (GSV)”) stands as a monumental literary achievement, encompassing a mythical landscape untouched by the law, where jagunços—bands of outlaws—wandered in the early 20th century. GSV weaves an epic tale of honor, vengeance, and love, tracing Riobaldo’s journey from youth to a retired rancher. His bond with Diadorim, forged in battles and shared moments on the oasis-like veredas, forms the heart of the narrative, alongside Riobaldo’s struggle with his growing romantic feelings.

Through Rosa’s masterful narrative, readers are immersed in a world where language dances and enchants, reflecting the diverse dialects of the Brazilian backlands. GSV is widely regarded to be the greatest work of Brazilian literature, and one of the greats of Lusophone and Latin American literature. A 2002 poll of 100 writers from around the globe saw it included on the Norwegian Bokklubben World Library list of the 100 best books of all time. It is only now, sixty years later, that a radical new translation is available due to the efforts of award-winning translator Alison Entrekin, who has spent the last seven years carefully recreating Rosa’s wordplay. An excerpt of her translation won the 2022 AAWP (Australasian Association of Writing Programs) Translators’ Prize.


Sagarana // Corpo de baile

Guimarães Rosa’s first collection of short stories, Sagarana, had an explosive effect upon the Brazilian literary scene. In this classic, the author evokes the unique universe of the Sertão in the style that was to become his trademark. Called the “James Joyce of the Portuguese language” because of innovations like the use of neologisms and an oral story-telling technique, Guimarães Rosa confounds places and landscapes, intermingling the real, the imaginary and the fantastical.

After the publication of Grande Sertão: Veredas, Guimarães Rosa returned to the genre of short fiction and published several collections of stories and novelettes, among others Corpo de baile (“Corps de Ballet”).

Guimarães Rosa received the most important literary awards of his country and has been translated into numerous languages.


Guimarães Rosa’s work is being published by Companhia das Letras in São Paulo.
Please ask for detailed information on the rights sold abroad.

The Devil to Pay in the Backlands (“Grande Sertão: Veredas”)
São Paulo: José Olímpico 1956; Companhia das Letras 2019, 560 p.; pb 2021
New English translation by Alison Entrekin available
Film directed by Guel Arraes, World Premiere at Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival 2023 (Critics’ Picks Award for Best Director), released in 2024
Feature film (“O Diabo na Rua no Meio do Redemunho”, director Bia Lessa) based on theatre play “Riobaldo”, 2023
Adapted as a theatre play (“Riobaldo”, director Amir Haddad), 2022
Argentina: Adriana Hidalgo 2009 · Brazil: José Olímpico 1956; Nova Frontiera 1985, 1988, 2011, 2015; Companhia das Letras 2019, 2021 · Catalan: Edicions 62 1990 · Croatia: Znanje· Czech Republic: Odeon 1971; Dauphin 2003; MladaFront 2003 · Denmark: Gyldendal 1997 · France: Albin Michel 1995, 2006; Livre de poche 2017 · Germany: Kiepenheuer & Witsch 1964, 1987, 1994; dtv 1992; S. Fischer (forthcoming)  · Greece: Livanis, Bibliotheque IKE · Israel: Sifriat Poalim 2016 · Italy: Feltrinelli 1970, 1976, 1980, 1985, 1999, 2007, 2011, 201714 · Norway: Gyldendal 2004; De norske bokklubbene 2006 · Poland: Państwowy Instytut Wydawniczy 1972 · Portugal: Companhia das Letras 2019 · Spain: Seix Barral 1967; Alianza 1999; Adriana Hidalgo 2009, pb 2011 · The Netherlands: Meulenhoff 1993, 2000, 20074  · UK: Serpent´s Tail 2008 · USA: Knopf 1963 · Venezuela: El perro y la rana 2008

Corpo de baile (1956) Includes:
#1 Manuelzão e Miguilim, 32nd ed. 2001, 260 p.
Campo Geral; Uma Estória de Amor
Brazil: Global 2019 · Italy: Feltrinelli 1994 · Spain: Alfaguara 1981
Standalone publications:
· Campo Geral
Brazil: Global 2019 · Germany: Wagenbach 2013

· Uma Estória de Amor
Italy: Feltrinelli 2007

#2 No Urubuquaquá, no Pinhém, 9th Nova Fronteira 2001, 314 p.
O recado do morro; Cara-de-bronze; A estória do Lélio e Lina
Brazil: Global 2021 · Spain: Seix Barral 1982
Standalone publications:
· O recado do morro
Rio de Janeiro: Nova Fronteira 2007, 128 p.
Brazil: Global 2021
· A estória do Lélio e Lina
Germany: Piper 1991

#3 Noites do sertão, 15th. 2000, 260 p.
Lão-dalalão; Buriti
Brazil: Global 2021 · France: Seuil 1959 · Spain: Seix Barral 1982 ·
Standalone publications:
· Lão-dalalão
Czech Republic: Torst 2010 · Germany: Kiepenheuer & Witsch 1966; Suhrkamp 1982
· Buriti
Czech Republic: Torst 2008 · France: Seuil 1961 · Germany: dtv 1969 · Italy: Feltrinelli 1985

Campo Geral and Other Stories (“Campo Geral y Otros Relatos”)
Mexico: Fondo de Cultura Economica 2023, 112 p.
Includes: Campo Geral; O burrinho pedrês; A hora e a vez de Augusto Madraga; Dão-lalalão; Sorôco, sua mãe, sua filha; A terceira margem do rio; Nada e a nossa condição; O cavalo que bebia cerveja; Azo de almirante; Desenredo; Melim-Meloso; Sinhá Secada; Meu tio Iauaretê

Sagarana – A Cycle of Stories (“Sagarana”)
Includes (among others):O burrinho pedrês; Sarapalha; A hora e a vez de Augusto Matraga
São Paulo: José Olímpico 1946, 340 p.; 1968, 1969, 1973, 1976, 1978, 1982
Brazil: Nova Fronteira 1984, 1993, 2001, 2006, 2008, 2015, 2016, 2017; Record 1984; Círculo do Livro 1987; Saraiva 2012; Global 2019 · France: Albin Michel 1998; Chandeigne 2016 · Germany: Kiepenheuer & Witsch 1982; Aufbau 1984 · Italy: Feltrinelli 1994 · USA: Knopf (PRH) 1966 · Spain: Adriana Hidalgo 2007 · Portugal: Livros do Brasil 1958
Standalone publications:
· A Hora e a Vez de Augusto Matraga, 10th ed.
Rio de Janeiro: Nova Fronteira 1996, 2014 · São Paulo: Saravia 2011; Global 2019, 64 p.
The Netherlands: Meulenhoff 1992
· O Burrinho Pedrês (1946), 1996, 104 p.

Primeiras Estórias 49th ed.
São Paulo: José Olímpico 1962; Três 1974; Global 2019 · Rio de Janeiro: Nova Fronteira 1985, 1988, 1989, 2005, 2007, 2012, 2016 200 p.
Adapted as a feature film (“Outras histórias”, dir. Pedro Bial), 1999
Canada: Orbis Tertius Press 2020 · France: Métailié 1991 · Italy: Mondadori 2003 · Portugal: Tinta da China 2022 · Sweden: Tranan 2018 · Spain: Seix Barral 1969 · The Netherlands: Meulenhoff 1977, 1984, 1993 · USA: Knopf 1973

Estas estórias (1969), 5th ed. 2001, 284 p. Includes:
· The Jaguar (“O meu tio Iauaretê”)
France: Albin Michel 1998; Editions 10/18 2000; Chandeigne 2016 · Germany: Kiepenheuer & Witsch 1981, 1994 · Italy: Guanda 1999 · UK: Boulevard Books 2001

Tutaméia (Terceiras Estórias) 8th ed.
São Paulo: José Olímpico 1967; Global 2021, 256 p. · Rio de Janeiro: Nova Fronteira 2001, 2013, 2017
Argentina: Calicanto 1979 · France: Seuil 1997 · Italy: Del Vecchio 2015

Ave, palavra (1970), 5th ed. 2001, 384 p.
(contos & crônicas)

Magma (1936), 1st ed. 1997, 148 p.

Fita verde no cabelo, 5th ed.
São Paulo: Global 2022, 40 9. · USA: Wayne State University Press (non-exclusive)

O Burrinho pedrês (1946), 1996, 104 p.
São Paulo: Global 2021, 80 p.
France: Chandeigne 2016

Correspôndencia Com Seu Tradutor Italiano Edoardo Bizarri
Rio de Janeiro: Nova Fronteira 2003, 208 p.

Correspôndencia Com Seu Tradutor Alemão Curt Meyer-Clason
Rio de Janeiro: Nova Fronteira 2003, 447 p.