Biography

Paulo Scott was born in 1966 in Porto Alegre, in southern Brazil, and grew up in a working-class neighbourhood. At university, he was an active member of the student political movement and was also involved in Brazil’s re-democratisation process. For fourteen years he taught law at university. He has now published six books of fiction and seven of poetry, as well as one graphic novel. He has lived in London, Rio de Janeiro and Garopaba, and moved to São Paulo in 2019 to focus on writing full-time.

More Info

  • Read more about Nowhere People, and an extract from the book, in the book section.
  • If you had subscribed to And Other Stories before this book’s publication, you would have received the first edition of the book – in which all subscribers are thanked by name – before its official publication, as well us up to 5 other And Other Stories titles per year. Find out about subscribing to upcoming titles here.
  • More information about the original Brazilian edition of the book, called Habitante Irreal, here on Paulo Scott’s website. The novel has also been published by the brilliant independent publisher Wagenbach Verlag in Germany as Unwirkliche Bewohner.
  • Translator Daniel Hahn writes about the joys and challenges of translating Nowhere People for Asymptote.
  • Nowhere People made World Literature Today‘s list of Notable Translations in 2014.
  • Featured on BBC Radio 4’s Open Book. Listen Here.

Reviews

Rachel Farmer
Asymptote

Phenotypes is innovative, deftly precise in its form, and utterly profound in its content. Scott’s work in bringing contemporary urgencies into fiction is uncomfortable and often unsettling, but necessary—and, ultimately, unforgettable.’

Joshua Rees
Buzz

‘[Phenotypes’] deftly engaging plot . . . twists and turns while exploring race, brotherhood, privilege, and the lasting impact of guilt. Hahn’s translation is exemplary, and although this is not an easy read, it is a journey worth taking.’


Southwest Review

‘Phenotypes demonstrates how the traumas of growing up in a racist society can propel a person of color forward while never letting them escape their past.’

Lucy Popescu
The Observer

‘An artfully plotted tale about race, privilege and guilt . . . careful reading proves richly rewarding.’  


New York Times Book Review

‘Phenotypes underscores how difficult antiracist projects can be at any scale…Scott’s characters quickly abandon the possibility of a comprehensive solution in favor of stopgap measures that may or may not work. Such are the inadequacies, the novel asserts, of treating entrenched and systemic issues as if they are only skin-deep.’


The Guardian

‘This is an artfully plotted tale about race, privilege and guilt…Phenotypes educates and entertains in equal measure.’

Lucy Popescu
The Observer

‘An artfully plotted tale about race, privilege and guilt . . . careful reading proves richly rewarding.’

Katie Goh
i-D (Books to Read 2022)

‘A blistering examination of Brazil's fraught racial history told through two brothers, one light-skinned and one dark-skinned.’  


Star Tribune

‘Phenotypes is…brilliant and emotionally resonant. I put it down days ago, and I'm still walking around with it.’  


Foreword Reviews

‘Phenotypes is a complex, stream-of-consciousness novel about race, culture, and deciding for oneself where one belongs.’


Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

‘[A] profound story of colorism and familial loyalty set in Brazil…The multiple layers combine for a mesmerizing and mature story.’


Kirkus Reviews

‘Scott pours out his indictment of Brazil in long, overflowing sentences that are equal parts outrage and cutting humor. Originally titled Brown and Yellow when it was published in Portuguese…it is not easy to shake off.’


Kirkus Reviews

‘Equal parts outrage and cutting humour . . . A blast of righteous (and spot-on) indignation by a formidable Brazilian author.’

John Keene

‘Federico, the white-passing mixed-race narrator of Paulo Scott’s stirring new novel Phenotypes, grips you from his opening words, and what a story he has to tell. Ostensibly sending up a Brazilian governmental bureaucracy’s attempts to address problems with the racial quota system in its higher education, Scott quickly shows that he has penned a profound, coruscating exploration of race, racism, colorism, family dynamics, class, culture, regionalism, politics, radicalism, and so much more. Scott’s intricate, ironic, entrancing narration, skillfully rendered into English by Daniel Hahn, confirms Scott as one of Brazil’s finest contemporary writers.’


Folha de São Paulo

‘Scott seems to have managed to produce a novel that will survive the test of time, a profound interpretation of our time and our country.’

Praise for Paulo Scott and Nowhere People

‘A powerful, complex and very ambitious voice. In the contemporary Latin American literature scene, Paulo Scott is a must-read.’ Juan Pablo Villalobos

‘Paulo Scott is one of the best novelists of his generation and is going to surprise us in the future.’João Gilberto Noll, interviewed by Posfácio magazine

‘One of Scott’s many merits is the audacity he shows, on many levels. Scott dares to create one of the most interesting voices in recent fiction.’ O Globo

Praise for Nowhere People

‘Immensely powerful. [...] This novel tackles post-dictatorship Brazilian ideologies better than anything else in fiction.’ O Estado de São Paulo

‘A lush postmodern spin on the intergenerational state-of-the-nation saga . . . Daniel Hahn’s translation of this somersaulting, playful, emotionally pummelling and occasionally oblique novel is, one assumes, a feat of ventriloquism and linguistic plate-spinning.’ Booktrust

‘Nowhere People is an inexhaustible font of surprises that the author’s firm hand manages to harmonise.’  Rascunho

‘Nowhere People is not your average book.’ Folha de São Paulo


O Estado de São Paulo

‘Immensely powerful. […] This novel tackles post-dictatorship Brazilian ideologies better than anything else in fiction.’


Booktrust

‘A lush postmodern spin on the intergenerational state-of-the-nation saga… Daniel Hahn’s translation of this somersaulting, playful, emotionally pummelling and occasionally oblique novel is, one assumes, a feat of ventriloquism and linguistic plate-spinning: Nowhere People weighs in at only 300 pages, but contains multitudes’

Alexandra Büchler, director of Literature Across Frontiers
English PEN

Nowhere People by Paulo Scott stands way out among the books I read in 2014. It’s the kind of novel you read and already look forward to reading it again although it makes such a painful read. Translated from the Brazilian Portuguese by Daniel Hahn, it is an innovative and emphatic j’accuse by a former lawyer and activist, a great example of the possibility of political engagement through literature, a reminder of one of the worst crimes in the history of mankind, the crime of displacing and annihilating indigenous people around the globe. Read this if you don’t mind crying.’

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