Born in 1961, in Cataguases, Brazil, Luiz Ruffato grew up in a poor migrant family. He worked, among other jobs, as a textile worker and a turner-mechanical, and he studied journalism. In 2001, his debut novel, There Were Many Horses, was praised for its vivid depiction of the urbanization of the author's hometown, São Paulo. The book revolutionized Brazilian literature, winning critical acclaim and a number of prizes, including the Brazilian National Library's Machado de Assis Award and the APCA Award for best novel. A jury of literary critics from the newspaper Globo proclaimed the book, which has now been translated into German, Spanish (Argentina and Colombia), French, and Italian and been published in Portugal, to be one of the ten best Brazilian books of recent decades.