Rodrigo de Souza Leão was born in Rio de Janeiro in 1965 and died in a psychiatric clinic in Rio in 2008, shortly after his extraordinary autobiographical novel All Dogs are Blue was published. Due to his mental fragility, Rodrigo de Souza Leão rarely left his house and yet he used social media, blogging and email a lot, becoming close friends with a large number of Brazilian writers and poets who hold him in high regard today. His death was marked by a flood of poems in homage to him.
During his lifetime, Souza Leão was a prolific writer, publishing more than ten books of poetry and co-founding and co-editing one of Brazil’s most important poetry magazines, Zunái. Since his death, further works of fiction have been published to widespread acclaim. All Dogs are Blue has been adapted for the stage and his outsider art has been presented in an individual exhibition at Rio’s Museum of Modern Art, entitled ‘Everything Will be the Colour You Want it to Be’.
- Translated by Zoë Perry and Stefan Tobler.
- All Dogs are Blue was shortlisted for the prestigious Portugal Telecom Prize in 2008 and now in English was a finalist for the Typographical Era Translation Award.
- Read more about All Dogs are Blue in the book section.
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‘Life is lived intensely and with gusto at the asylum in Rio. All Dogs are Blue kept me curious and it kept me laughing … Souza Leão is a mind-blowing poet; his attitude seems to be something like: Why not flaunt the language(s) that madness has taught me?’
Juan Pablo Villalobos
‘When I finished reading the book I was so completely taken by it that I could only think about translating it into Spanish and finding a publisher for it. That’s what I did.’
‘Souza Leão’s autobiographical novel…weaves the lives of the poor with the insane, and poetry with psychosis.’
The Paris Review
'Souza Leão uses a kind of language his schizophrenia has taught him, creating a poetry that’s at one moment absurd and the next heartbreakingly self-aware. It’s an innovative, original book.'
Paulo Scott, Machado de Assis Prize winning writer
‘Rodrigo de Souza Leão is an exceptional author and has had a major impact on contemporary Brazilian literature.’
Cristhiano Aguiar, one of Granta’s Best of Young Brazilian Novelists
‘Full of heart and soul, All Dogs Are Blue is one of the most powerful reading experiences I’ve had. A masterpiece.’
‘Souza Leão’s autobiographical account of schizophrenia is written with tremendous verve and perspicuity, crisply translated by Zoe Perry and Stefan Tobler. All Dogs are Blue is a profound examination of the tricks and quirks of a fragile mind and Souza Leão demonstrates with startling humour how easy it is to tip from sanity into delusion.’
Vol. 1 Brooklyn
‘The novel’s pained, honest prose left me reeling for much of its length … the headlong rush of prose and ideas becomes breathtaking … for all of the things that we don’t know about this brief, crushingly moving book’s narrator, we do know that he was once a child; we can experience something of that innocence, and the heart at his core. It’s an indication of why we should care about this man, and what warm decency lies at the beginnings of this particular narrative.’