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PAULO MENDES CAMPOS

What made you decide to become a writer?
Paulo Mendes Campos –
I didn’t. Before I knew it, while still in high school, I was writing a "novel" – an adventure story. For many years I thought to myself – I’m not a writer, but I like writing, so I'll go on writing.

What are your stories based on?
Paulo Mendes Campos –
Always on things that happened to me or to others. The most fantastic things also happen in their own strange way.

If you weren't a writer, what would you like to be?
Paulo Mendes Campos –
A researcher; a researcher of anything alive. Medicine. Botany. I have a heartfelt interest in searching, comparing, classifying, looking for small victories and constructive defeats.

How was your childhood?
Paulo Mendes Campos –
Great: parents, brothers and sisters, food, school, soccer, literature. And an element of danger: I used to enjoy risky games.

Were you a good student at school?
Paulo Mendes Campos –
Composition: good. Grammar: poor. Languages: passable. Maths: terrible. Science: very good. Behavior: below average.

When at school, were you already writing better than your colleagues?
Paulo Mendes Campos –
Yes.

Did your teachers help to become a writer? In what way?
Paulo Mendes Campos –
In the third year of middle school, my teacher Gilberto Luis de Barros wrote in my notebook that one day I would become a writer: that helped me a lot.

Do you re-work and revise your works a great deal?
Paulo Mendes Campos –
When I write to order, there isn't much time for correction. When I write for my own interest, I enjoy writing and rewriting. Practice makes perfect.

Do you like soccer? Which is your team?
Paulo Mendes Campos –
I've always loved soccer. My dream was to be a soccer player. I was a hard-working amateur and played reasonably well. Later in life I started playing soccer again. I still want to play. In Rio, my team is Botafogo, and in Minas I'm an Atlético fan.

Besides writing, what are your hobbies?
Paulo Mendes Campos –
I like reading poems and essays, and re-reading certain novels. I like eating salt-cod and drinking wine when the weather is cold. I enjoy watching old cartoons and listening to samba from the slums. I like traveling on trains and planes and enjoy talking to my friends, looking at trees, just doing nothing.

Interview taken from Para Gostar de Ler – volume 3: Crônicas, editora Ática