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Vanildo Bezerra Cavalcanti

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Playwright, journalist and historian

Vanildo Bezerra Cavalcanti

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Last update: 03/10/2017

By: Lúcia Gaspar - Librarian of the Fundação Joaquim Nabuco

Playwright, journalist and historian, Vanildo Campos Bezerra Cavalcanti was born in Recife, at 382 Hospício Street, on August 12, 1919, to Leopoldo Bezerra Cavalcanti and Alice Campos Bezerra Cavalcanti.

In 1938, engaged in the student political movement, he collaborated with O Fanal, a student’s newspaper in Recife, which presented the following in its first issue, in 1937:

We fight for the high interests of nationality, wherever they may be threatened and we will fight as much as possible for education in Brazil, raising the civic level of the people and increasing the moral and material prestige of the Brazilian nation.

He graduated in law from the Recife Faculty of Law in 1948.

He was a founder of the Teatro Popular do Nordeste (Northeast Popular Theatre) (TPN), in Recife in 1958, and of the Pernambuco Theatre Writers Association, where he served four times as president.

He is the author of several award-winning plays such as A senha foi açúcar (The Password Was Sugar), a historical play in two acts; O violino encantado (The Enchanted Violin), a children’s play also in two acts; Emilia no país da gramática (Emilia in the Grammar Country), an authorised theatrical adaptation of the work by Monteiro Lobato, awarded by the Children and Youth Theatre of São Paulo and praised by the writer himself, and O Lobisomem (The Werewolf), which received an award from the Theatre School of Fine Arts.

He also wrote several other plays such as Amigos (Friends), O ditador (The Dictator), A queda do anjo (The Angel’s Fall), História antiga (Ancient History), Primavera (Spring), O Carola (The Devotee), Como conquistar mulher casada (How to Get a Married Woman), A túnica de Deus (God’s Tunic) and Os outros quinhentos (The Other Five Hundred).

As a professional journalist, he was editor of the Recife newspapers Folha da Manhã, Diário da Manhã and Correio do Povo, besides being responsible for the Tourism Section of the Jornal do Commercio, in Recife.

Appointed cultural attaché of Brazil to Italy in 1959, was transferred the following year as press officer for the Brazilian Embassy in Lisbon, Portugal.

On his return to Brazil, he joined the Public Ministry, working in various districts of Pernambuco, retiring as a prosecutor.

Founder and president of Northeast Trade and Industry Fair, known as FECIN, he was also a founder of the Brazilian Union of Writers, Pernambuco Section, and the Centre for the Study of City History, in the now defunct Institute Foundation of Municipal Administration (FIAM) .

He was a member of the Pernambuco and Olinda Academies of Arts and of the Pernambuco Archaeological, History and Geography Institute.

From 1951 to 1968, he collaborated with the Boletim da Cidade do Recife (Bulletin of the City of Recife), writing stories about the city of Recife, in the Streets and Quays Section.

He is the author of, among others, the following publications: Recife do corpo santo (Recife of the Holy Body) (1976), a book that was awarded the Joaquim Nabuco Prize; Das razões do farol de Olinda (Olinda Lighthouse Reasons), Olinda e sua formação literária (Olinda and its Literary Education); O republicano Bernardo Vieira de Melo (The Republican Bernardo Vieira de Melo) and Centenário de Bastos Tigre (Bastos Tigre Centennial), articles published in the Public Archives Magazine between 1976 and 1982, O Recife e a origem dos seus bairros centrais (Recife and the Origin of Its Central Neighbourhoods), published in the book Um tempo do Recife (A time of Recife), organised by Nilo Pereira (1978); Olinda do Salvador do mundo: biografia da cidade (Olinda of the Saviour of the World: biography of the city) (1986).

Vanildo Bezerra, as he was best known, died on 17 February 1988. His body was kept in state in the Pernambuco Academy of Letters and buried in the Convent of St Francis of Olinda.




Recife, 29 January 2010.
Translated by Peter Leamy, March 2012.


sources consulted

ALVES, Audálio et al. Seleta de autores pernambucanos. Rio de Janeiro: Jornal de Letras; Recife: Secretaria de Educação do Estado de Pernambuco, 1987. p. 600-602.

CAVALCANTI, Carlos Bezerra. Efemérides pernambucanas. Recife: Edição do Autor, 2009. p. 179-180. 

NASCIMENTO, Luiz do. História da imprensa de Pernambuco. Recife: Fundaj/UFPE, 2009. v. 9 (CD-Rom).

VANILDO Bezerra Cavalcanti. Boletim da Cidade e do Porto do Recife, Recife, n. 63-169, p.112, jan./dez. 1957-1967.

how to quote this text

Source: GASPAR, Lúcia. Vanildo Bezerra Cavalcanti.  Pesquisa Escolar Online, Joaquim Nabuco Foudation, Recife. Available at:  <>. Accessed: day month year. Exemple: 6 Aug. 2009.