“I am a writer because it was inevitable”: Lucas Verzola talks about the fusion of legal and literary worlds

Lucas Verzola

Dividing his time between literature and courts, Brazilian writer Lucas Verzola has been drawing the attention of critics and book lovers in the past few years. He is the author of “Em conflito com a lei” (In conflict with the law), published in 2016 by Reformatório. The title brings stories about the lives of youthful offenders and blends fiction and nonfiction.

Born in São Paulo, he is this week’s interviewee of the Brazilian Authors Series, an initiative of Brazilian Publishers, an industry project fostering the exports of Brazilian editorial content by means of a partnership between the Brazilian Book Chamber (CBL) and the Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (Apex-Brasil).

Graduated in Law and working in the Family Justice Court, Verzola became more and more interested in combining literature and the legal universe in his books, as a way to tell stories and draw attention to cases involving youthful offenders who are in a situation of extreme vulnerability. “I work with literature and in the legal system and to me is clear how both careers are closely related, and I take advantage of both”, says the author to the Brazilian Publishers team. And he adds: “The major convergence point is that both use the concept of conflict of narratives: in literature it’s more explicit, while in law it’s more dissimulated, since the common sense is that the legal practice is able to reveal the truth or reality, when we know that Law, like any hegemonic field of knowledge, represents a very specific narrative. As a writer, I can see things through literature lenses to understand better how such manipulation mechanisms work and to reveal them and use them to create art and offer alternatives”.

Based on his original idea that there are so many stories that “should be told”, Lucas was given a grant by the Secretariat of Culture of the State of São Paulo to continue with his research, which resulted in the book “Em Conflito com a Lei”. “I combine traditional narratives with unusual texts, such as police reports, minutes of hearings and job ads, having a teenager in a difficult situation as the focus of the story”, says the writer.

First steps in literature

Lucas Verzola states that his first memories involve a book. He says he has always liked writing, but it took a while for him to see himself as a writer. “Then I realized it would be impossible for me not to see things through literature lenses, which allow me to understand narratives and conflicts, identify complex characters and search for a meaning in the plots of real life”, he says. And adds: “I am a writer because it was inevitable, because when I write, things stop haunting me, stop chasing after me, and finally stop existing. Writers live in a constant search for something they can’t explain or understand, and their challenge is to do it by using the countless ways language gives us.”

Other books and perspectives

In addition to the title mentioned above, Verzola also wrote “A última cabra” (The last she-goat) (2019), published by Reformatório; and “São Paulo depois de horas” (São Paulo After Hours (2014), released by Patuá. In both books he explored more traditional short stories, but now he is working on a novel. “It has been a very different experience to be able to use language without the limitations imposed by short stories, which is something I became used to in the past few years”, says Lucas.

The author reveals what the new book is about: “It’s a story of the relationship between a mother and her son, and we follow the narrative in two different times: when he is a teenager in a delicate situation that forces him to run away from home and move to other city; and when he returns to his parents’ home, on the verge of turning 40, after his marriage fails, and dig out issues buried long ago.”

Lucas Verzola is also dedicated to editing Lavoura Magazine – check it out here.

About the Series: Brazilian Authors

In order to stimulate knowledge about Brazilian contemporary literature, Brazilian Publishers, an industry project fostering exports of Brazilian editorial content through a partnership between the Brazilian Book Chamber (CBL) and the Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (Apex-Brasil), created the series “Brazilian Authors”, which brings information about current national writers.

About Brazilian Publishers

Created in 2008, Brazilian Publishers is a sector project that encourages the export of content produced by Brazilian publishing houses. It is a result of a partnership between the Brazilian Book Chamber – CBL and Apex-Brasil (Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency). This initiative aims to promote the Brazilian publishing industry in the global market, contributing to the professionalization of the nation’s publishing houses.