José de Jesus Louzeiro is from São Luís, in the state of Maranhão, where he was born on September 19, 1932, to Aproniano Louzeiro and Raymunda de Souza Louzeiro. He began working at the newspaper O Imparcial when he was 16, as an apprentice proofreader. One year later, he left proofreading behind and became a cub reporter with the same paper’s police section. He moved to Rio in 1954 at the age of 22. Although he carried a professional journalist’s card in his pocket, Louzeiro was not familiar with the city and ended up working at the German company Oscar Flues, which sold printing machines. During the day he earned his living as an office assistant, and at night he was an intern at O Jornal, flagship of the Cadeia Associada. In 1956, he went to work for the publishing house Cia. Editora Americana, where he was responsible for circulation of the magazine Revista da Semana, in the neighborhood of Lapa; he was assigned to the Publicity Department as well. Commission agents would bring in their suggestions as to how advertisers would like their messages delivered, and he would write them up back then, under the pseudonym Galeno de Souza.

In 1958, he got married and also made his literary debut with publication of a short story collection entitled Depois da Luta (Editora Simões). From that time on, he broadened his horizons in journalism, working at Última Hora, Diário Carioca, and Correio da Manhã. In the early 1960s, he worked as picture editor for the Brazilian edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica. Despite his busy agenda, he managed to publish Acusado de Homicídio and a second volume of short stories, Judas Arrependido. One year after the March 1964 military coup, Civilização Brasileira publishing house released his reportage Assim Marcha a Família.

During the early years of the dictatorship, he wrote a biography of André Rebouças for a collection put out by Editora Tempo Brasileiro. In 1967, he was involved in a project to create the Rio de Janeiro Writers’ Union, with the support of the Jornal do Escritor, offices located on Rua Álvaro Alvim. His companions in idealism were Adonias Filho, Evaristo de Moraes, Rubem Fonseca, Nélida Piñon, Afrânio Coutinho, Homero Homem, Antônio Houaiss and Plínio Doyle. That same year he traveled to Brasília with the intention of returning to Rio soon after, but he instead ventured on to São Paulo. Fortunately, Folha de S.Paulo – where he went to work – was run by a renowned leftist: Cláudio Abramo. He met the secretary of Folha da Tarde, published in the same building, and accepted his invitation to join the Diário do Grande ABC, in Santo André. He remained in São Paulo until 1975.

Much earlier, he had met Ednalva, who delivered articles by the Bahian poet and novelist Ildásio Tavares for publication in Jornal do Escritor. They fell in love and decided to live together. When he returned to Rio in 1975, he began writing books regularly. The first was Lúcio Flávio, o Passageiro da Agonia, adapted for film. Next came Aracelli, Meu Amor (1976) and Infância dos Mortos, o Pixote (1977), the latter also made into a movie. In 1981, he won the Fernando Chinaglia Award for his work as author and "writer’s friend" as well as two prizes from the São Paulo Art Critics Association as novelist and fictionist.

Since then, thanks to the invaluable collaboration of his wife, Ednalva, he has written and released over 30 books, some for young people. In the area of cinema he has participated in at least 10 feature-length films. In 1987, he wrote the soap opera Corpo Santo for TV Manchete. One year later, the same network hired him to write Olho por olho, O Marajá (still censured) and Guerra Sem Fim. In 1990, this time for TV Globo, he wrote Gente Fina, in collaboration with Luiz Carlos Fusco and Marilu Saldanha.

He is presently nearing completion of a complex book that has required years of research, set to be published by Editora Scipione in São Paulo: Os Filhos de Maquiavel (Children of Machiavelli). This is only the working title, but the revelations about the dictator Getúlio Vargas and some of his relatives and subordinates – including Gregório Fortunato – are definitive. Evils that were perpetuated during the Estado Novo but have yet to be uncovered may well surpass the plots of the most scandalous stories. The behind-the-scenes activities of the anti-semitic Vargas, an ally of Hitler, are sordid. José Louzeiro says that Brazilians of all ages, and especially young people, must know about this.