Other Notable Deaths

May 19, 2008

ZELIA GATTAI, 91

Brazilian writer

Zelia Gattai, the celebrated author of the Brazilian best-seller Anarchists, Thank God! and widow of famed Brazilian novelist Jorge Amado, died Saturday.

She was hospitalized weeks ago in her home city of Salvador, the northeastern Brazilian city immortalized in Mr. Amado's novels.

Her condition worsened after intestinal surgery, said Rodrigo Santa Fe, a receptionist at Bahia Hospital.

Ms. Gattai was born in Sao Paulo, the daughter of Italian anarchist Ernesto Gattai. She befriended rising authors Mario de Andrade and Rubem Braga and then met Mr. Amado, whom she married in 1945.

The couple spent the first part of their marriage in political exile in Europe, as Mr. Amado, a communist, was forced to leave Brazil. Ms. Gattai studied literature at the Sorbonne in Paris before returning with Mr. Amado to settle in Salvador about 1955.

Mr. Amado went on to write more than a dozen novels.

At age 63, Ms. Gattai began her own literary career with Anarchists, Thank God! The 1979 autobiography outlines her early life. It became a Brazilian best-seller and popular miniseries on Brazil's Globo TV network.

Her work has been translated into French, Italian and Russian.

She later wrote eight sequels to her autobiography, tracing her life with her husband; along with children's books and a novel.

She was elected to the Brazilian Academy of Letters, assuming the seat that had belonged to her husband, who died in 2001.

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