Paulo Lins


© Imago Eastnews


Having grown up and worked as an anthropologist in the favelas, Paulo Lins, born in 1958, has a unique understanding of their culture and ways. As a teacher, poet and novelist, Lins gained recognition as an exceptional storyteller. City of God received critical acclaim for its combination of insight and intensity.



Paulo Lins’ long-awaited new novel, Desde que o samba é samba (“Then There Was Samba“), depicts a colourful evolution of what was to become samba as it is known today, starring a multitude of vividly painted characters. The inhabitants of the red-light district in 1920s Rio de Janeiro are hassled by the police who despise their skin colour, their African rituals and their music. Yet through all this, they manage to present the world with a riveting new rhythm while falling in and out of love and dealing with their own everyday concerns, like the pimp Brancura who, trying to become a great musician, tries and fails to give up his reprobate life. Featuring plenty of lively dialogues, Paulo Lins’ novel is packed with action and passion.


Just as City of God was about much more than drug trafficking, so Then There Was Samba is about so much more than merely music; their common theme is the lives of black people in a white-dominated society.

Der Spiegel


A sensual and eloquent blast from the past that undermines every Brazilian cliché.

Dresden Morning Post


A novel that is more Brazilian than Rio’s Corcovado itself.

Time Out Lisboa


There’s delicacy, musicality, deities, bold language, unabashed sex… reading this new novel by Paulo Lins is a great pleasure.



An excellent novel that confirms Lins as a great author.




Cidade de Deus (“City of God”) takes the reader to the heart of a famous favela in Rio de Janeiro. With the same keen observation that fuelled Richard Price’s Clockers, Lins explores the lives of its most intriguing and influential inhabitants, the gangsters. From the soccer fields to drug deals, from the sunny beaches to the violent fights, Lins follows the many stories of his young, brave and cruel characters. In a vivid, striking prose, Lins combines his knowledge of the favelas with an insider’s understanding. Both frightening and exhilarating, Paulo Lins’ story is alive with tension.


City of God is an essential work within Brazil’s literature.

Heloísa Buarque de Hollanda



Published in 1997, Cidade de Deus has been a bestseller for years. In May 2002 the film City of God, directed by Fernando Meirelles, was shown in Cannes with great success and obtained great reviews (Variety, Libération, Financial Times, The Guardian, Der Spiegel).


City of God, based on an autobiographical account and filmed with lay actors from the favelas. Through a gang of adolescents whose childhood ends in organised crime, the film portrays life in a favela in Rio de Janeiro over a period of twenty years. This film pulls a hard punch, is a breathtaking saga with something of the violent ferocity of a Scorcese and the shock effects of a Tarantino.






Favela Natal (working title)

Zurich: Lars Müller Publishers GmbH


Desde que o samba é samba

São Paulo: Planeta 2012, 303 p.

Film rights sold to Mira Filmes

English sample translation available

Chile: Tajamar (world Spanish rights, excl. Mexico) 2016 Denmark: Anton & Ludwig Finland: Aviador France: Asphalte 2014 Germany: Droemer Knaur 2013  Mexico: Elefanta Portugal: Caminho 2012


City of God (“Cidade de Deus”)

São Paulo: Companhia das Letras 2002, 403 p. (revised version); Planeta Brazil: 2012, 396 p.; Tusquets Brazil: 20182, 400 p.

Film directed by Fernando Meirelles, 2002

Chile: Tajamar (world Spanish rights, excl. Mexico) Denmark: Husets 2005 Egypt: Mahrousa Publishing Estonia: Eesti Päevaleht 2011 Finland: Aviador 2016 France: Gallimard 2003, pb 2005 Germany: blumenbar 2004, pb Heyne 2006 Greece: Fantastikos Kosmos 2007 Italy: Einaudi 1999, pb Mondadori 2006 Korea: Jihyang Publishing Group Macedonia: BataMexico: Elefanta Netherlands: Ambo/Anthos 2005 Poland: PIW 2006 (rights available) Portugal: Caminho 2003 Romania: Polirom 2008 Spain: Tusquets 2003, Proa 2001 (Catalan) Sweden: Tranan 2003 Turkey: Kahve Yayinlari   UK: Bloomsbury 2006 US: Grove Atlantic 2006