Por Vanessa Barbara


Riff Agency
Vanessa Barbara


Vanessa Barbara was born in São Paulo in 1982 and is a journalist, translator, and writer. She is a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times since the fall of 2013. She has also published stories in a range of outlets such as The New York Review of Books, Granta, Vogue, VICE and Monocle. In 2012, she was selected as one of the twenty new promising authors in Brazilian literature by Granta magazine. She has won the national Jabuti prize for journalism; the Prêmio Paraná de Literatura in the category unedited novel with Operação Impensável; and Prix du Premier Roman Étranger 2015 with Nuits de Laitue, in France.

She has also translated into Portuguese “The Great Gatsby,” by F. Scott Fitzgerald; “Three Lives,” by Gertrude Stein; and “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” by Lewis Carrol.


Vanessa Barbara nasceu em São Paulo, em 1982. É jornalista, tradutora e escritora, colunista do time internacional do New York Times desde 2013, tendo publicado mais de sessenta artigos no jornal. Foi escolhida em 2012 pela revista Granta na edição 20 Melhores Jovens Escritores Brasileiros. Já colaborou para publicações internacionais tais como The New York Review of Books, Granta, Monocle, Vogue e VICE

Em 2015 recebeu o Prix du Premier Roman Étranger, na França, por Noites de Alface, que foi publicado em 2013 e traduzido para seis idiomas. Em 2014 foi vencedora do Prêmio Paraná de Literatura, na categoria romance, com Operação Impensável. É também vencedora do prêmio Jabuti de reportagem por O Livro Amarelo do Terminal (CosacNaify, 2008). 

Outras obras: o livro de crônicas O Louco de Palestra (Companhia das Letras, 2014, semifinalista do prêmio Oceanos), o romance O Verão do Chibo (Alfaguara, 2008, em parceria com Emilio Fraia, finalista do Prêmio São Paulo de Literatura), o infantil Endrigo, o Escavador de Umbigo (Ed. 34, 2011), ilustrado por Andrés Sandoval, e a graphic novel A Máquina de Goldberg (Quadrinhos na Cia., 2012), em parceria com Fido Nesti.

Foi editora do periódico A Hortaliça e colaboradora da revista piauí, onde publicou reportagens sobre hipnose, telemarketing, astrologia, ioiô, parto e escultura em melancias. Foi tradutora e preparadora da editora Companhia das Letras e colunista do Blog da Companhia. Foi cronista do caderno Metrópole do jornal O Estado de S. Paulo em 2008-2009 e da Folha de S.Paulo em 2010-2014, além do Caderno 2 do jornal O Estado de São Paulo em 2014-2017. Como cronista, participou da cobertura dos Jogos Olímpicos de Londres-2012 para a Folha de S.Paulo.

“Um excelente exemplo da nova crônica brasileira” (Luis Fernando Verissimo, jornal O Extra)

Jabuti 2009 (Livro-reportagem)
APCA 2009 (Livro-reportagem)
Biblioteca do Paraná 2014 (Romance)
Prix du Premier Roman Étranger 2015, France (Romance)

Lista de obras publicadas
Operação impensável (romance, 2015, Intrínseca, Prêmio Paraná de Literatura)
O Louco de Palestra (crônicas, 2014, Companhia das Letras)
Noites de Alface (romance, 2013, Alfaguara, Prix du Premier Roman Étranger)
A Máquina de Goldberg (graphic novel, 2012, Companhia das Letras)
Endrigo, O Escavador de Umbigo (infantil, 2011, ed. 34)
O Verão do Chibo (romance, 2008, Alfaguara)
O Livro Amarelo do Terminal (livro-reportagem, 2008, Cosac&Naify, prêmios Jabuti e APCA)


Operação Impensável
Rio de Janeiro: Intrínseca, 2015., 224 p.
Prêmio Paraná de Literatura
English sample translation: here

Noites de Alface
Rio de Janeiro: Alfaguara 2013, 166 p.

Prix du Premier roman étranger 2015 – France
Dutch sample translation available
English sample translation: here
Czech Republic: Albatros  |  France: Zulma  |  Germany: A1 Verlag  |  Italy: Corbaccio (Mauri Spagnol)  |  Sweden: Natur & Kultur  |  Denmark: Anton Ludwig

O verão do Chibo
(with Emilio Fraia as co-author)

Rio de Janeiro: Alfaguara 2008, 120 p.
German sample translation available
English sample translation: here



A Máquina de Goldberg
(with Fido Nesti)
São Paulo: Companhia das Letras 2011, 112 p.



O Louco de Palestra
São Paulo: Companhia das Letras 2014, 200 p.

São Paulo 1971-2011: História recente, versões literárias, resíduos visuais
(with Luiz Ruffato, Ignácio de Loyola Brandão and Tony Bellotto)

São Paulo: Ed. Olhares 2012, 160 p.

O livro amarelo do terminal
São Paulo: Cosac Naify 2008, 253 p.

Jabuti Prize for Journalism
APCA Prize 2008
English sample translation: here



Endrigo, o escavador de umbigo
(Ill. by Andrés Sandoval)

São Paulo: Ed. 34 2011, 48 p.



Granta n. 121
The Best of Young Brazilian Novelists
Autumn 2012
(Story Lettuce Nights)

Cuentos en tránsito. Antología de narrativa brasileña
Buenos Aires: Alfaguara, 2014, 225 p.

(Story La fila)

One World Two: A Second Global Anthology of Short Stories
Oxford: New Internationalist, 2016, 224 p.
(Story Nellie)

Sobras: Geraldo de Barros
Paris: Chose Commune, 2017, 124 p.
(Story The Last WinterLe Dernier Hiver / O Último Inverno)

São Paulo Noir
New York: Akashic, 2018, 256 p.
(Story Cross Contamination)

Revista Abril
Luxemburgo, 2019
(Story La vecina de abajo)


Chock full of highly entertaining characters all trying to hide a secret, Noites de Alface (“Lettuce Nights”) captures village life at its most vivid. When Otto’s wife Ada dies after fifty years of marriage, he finds his quiet life disrupted by his neighbours’ intrusions: a pharmacist addicted to investigating side effects, a young anthropologist who watches her favourite Eskimo video each night, and a singing mailman who keeps getting his addressees mixed up. As Otto starts gathering evidence of an obscure incident in which Ada appears to have been involved, not even her recipe for lettuce tea helps him sleep. Subtly creating bizarre situations, Vanessa Barbara immediately transports the reader into a world he will be loath to leave.

“Noites de Alface has humour with substance.” (Folha de S. Paulo)
“Bizarre, ambiguous, absurd – and with a hint of magic realism. The village of the novel lies in a kind of land of milk and honey for good stories, in close neighbourhood to Fargo by Joel and Ethan Coen.” (taz)


O louco de palestra (“The Lecture-Hall Lunatic”) is a brilliant collection of Vanessa Barbara’s most entertaining chronicles about her neighbourhood in São Paulo, its unique inhabitants and their charming habits, together with her astute observations of contemporary urban life around the world. With her singularly insightful way of writing, full of humour and irony, her stories irresistibly draw the readers in, no matter where they’re from. The chronicles were originally published in leading newspapers and magazines like Folha de S. Paulo and O Estado de S. Paulo. 

“A creative eye.” (Estadão)
“A young author who writes like one of the greats.” (Gazeta do Povo, Curitiba)


In the four-handed novel O verão do Chibo (“The Summer of Chibo”), a boy no more than seven years old, immersed in a very singular universe, describes his adventures during his summer vacation in the middle of a corn field in the company of his friends. But this is a different summer. Because Chibo, his older brother, mysteriously disappears, and all the other boys seem to do the same. This is a subtle work, often humorous, other times touching, about the mysteries that surround growing up. It was a finalist in the Prêmio São Paulo de Literatura.

“A little gem about the mysteries that surround becoming a grown-up.” (O Estado de S. Paulo)
“Another world in miniature, with lyricism and absurdity to match the fantasies and traumas of childhood.” (Folha de S. Paulo)


Represented for Riff Agency, exc. French, Portuguese and Spanish


Riff Agency
Vanessa Barbara