Cristovão Tezza was born in Lages, in the southern Brazilian state of Santa Catarina, in 1952. His father died in June 1959 and his family moved to Curitiba, in the state of Paraná, two years later.
In 1968 he joined the Capela Arts Center, directed by W. Rio Apa, in which he participated until 1977. He acted in Denise Stoklos’ first play in 1968, and in two productions put on by the group XPTO, directed by Ari Pára-Raio in 1969, all in Curitiba.
In 1970 he finished high school at Paraná State High School. The following year he enrolled at the Merchant Navy Officer Training School in Rio de Janeiro, which he left in August of the same year. In December 1974, he went to Portugal to study Language and Literature at the University of Coimbra, but the university was closed due to the Carnation Revolution, so he spent a year wandering through Europe.
He married in January 1977. In 1984, he moved to Florianópolis, Santa Catarina, to work as a lecturer in Portuguese at the Federal University of Santa Catarina. He returned to Curitiba in 1986 to teach at the Federal University of Paraná (where he worked until 2009, when he resigned to living out of literature).
In 1988 he published Ragamuffin (Brasiliense), for which he became known nationally. Over the following decade he published the novels Tentative Adventures (which won the Petrobrás Literature Award), Juliano Pavollini, The Gentleness of the Wind, The Phantom of Childhood and A Night in Curitiba.
In 1998, his novel Brief Space Between Color and Shade (Rocco) won the Brazilian National Library’s Machado de Assis Award; and The Photographer (Rocco), published in 2004, won the Brazilian Academy of Letters and Bravo! awards for novel of the year.
His PhD thesis (University of São Paulo), Between Prose and Poetry - Bakhtin and Russian Formalism, was published in 2002 (Rocco). Tezza has co-authored two textbooks with linguist Carlos Alberto Faraco (Writing Practice and Writing Workshop, published by Editora Vozes), and in the last few years has published occasional reviews and critical texts in the magazine Veja and the newspapers Folha de S. Paulo and O Estado de S. Paulo. In 2009-2010 he wrote a biweekly column for the Folha de S. Paulo literary suplement.
In 2006, he signed with Editora Record, which has begun to re-launch his earlier works. In July 2007 his new novel The Eternal Son came out and his novels Ragamuffin, Tentative Adventures and The Phantom of Childhood were re-released with new covers.
In December 2007, The Eternal Son received the São Paulo Art Critics’ Association Award for that year’s best work of fiction. In 2008, it won the Jabuti Prize, the Bravo! Award, the Portugal-Telecom Award and the São Paulo Literature Award, all for best novel or work of fiction. In 2009, The Eternal Son received the Zaffari & Bourbon Prize for best book in the last two years.
The Eternal Son has been published in Italy by Sperling & Kupfer (translation by Maria Baiocchi; in Portugal by Gradiva; in France by Métailiè (translation by Sébastien Roy), where it was awarded with the Charles Brisset Award for best novel of the year, by French Institute of Psychiatry; in Spain (in Catalan, by Club Editor from Barcelona, translation by Josep Domènech Ponsatí), Holland by Contact (translation by Arie Pos) and Australia and New Zealand by Scribe Publications.
In 2010 he published the novel An emotional mistake, and the following year Beatriz, a collection of short stories with the same character.
In 2012, The eternal son (Scribe Publications) was shortlisted in International Impac-Dublin Literary Award.
Cristovão Tezza lives in Curitiba, southern Brazil.