Editor and founder of Bedeteca João Paulo Cotrim died aged 56

The editor and founder of Bedeteca de Lisboa João Paulo Cotrim died this Sunday in Lisbon, aged 56, a victim of illness, sources close to the family told the Lusa news agency. João Paulo Cotrim directed the Bedeteca de Lisboa from its opening in 1996 to 2002. During this period he organized several initiatives and exhibitions.

João Paulo Cotrim will have been a victim, according to advanced the Jornal de Notícias, by Covid-19. According to the Público newspaper, which advanced the news, the screenwriter was admitted to Hospital dos Capuchos.

The funeral takes place on Wednesday. It will be in a burning chamber from 10 am, at the Church of São João de Deus, in London Square (Lisbon), and the mass will be celebrated at 2.30 pm. Departure to the Alto de S. João cemetery is scheduled for 15:30, where it will be cremated at 16:00.

João Paulo Cotrim was the director of the Lisbon Illustration and Comic Band Exhibition for four editions and was responsible for its programming, catalogs and the Portuguese Illustration exhibition.


Screenwriter for animated films, João Paulo Cotrim wrote graphic novels, essays and poetry and stories for children and adults. He was a journalist and editor of Abysmo.

In his vast work there are graphic novels (“Salazar — Now, in the Time of His Death”), fiction (“The White of Chinese Shadows”, with António Cabrita), essays (“Stuart — A Rua eo Riso” or “El Alma de Almada El Ímpar” — Graphic Work 1926-1931), aphorisms (“My Cat”) and poetry (“Má Raça”, with Alex Gozblau), as well as stories for childhood (“Querer Much”, with André da Loba).

João Paulo Cotrim was also a professor at Ar Co, in the Illustration and Comic Department, as well as at IADE – Faculty of Design, Technology and Communication, and collaborated at the Portuguese Book and Libraries Institute (IPLB).

Following the confinement imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic, João Paulo Cotrim created, in 2020, “Torpor. Voluptuous dance steps in sudden braking”, a free digital magazine created and made available by the publisher Abysmo.

The edition seeks to capture the effect that the pandemic crisis and confinement had “both in the arts and in life”, an initiative that was not previously planned, “the result of successive dilettante tours through the networks”, in which João Paulo Cotrim discovered a world that artistic creation throbbed, the editor told Lusa, in May of last year.

Among the various media outlets he has worked on are Revista Ler, Elle, Máxima, Marie Claire, Oceanos, Visão, Grande Reportagem, Colloquio-Letras, Der Spiegel, Le Monde and the DNA supplement.

The novel “O Plantador de Aboboras”, by Timorese writer Luís Cardoso, who won the Oceanos 2021 Award, which annually highlights the best works published in Portuguese, was one of the books published by Abismo.

On December 8, the writer, who lives in Lisbon, dedicated the award to his editor, João Paulo Cotrim, indicating that he was already ill.

On social networks such as Facebook, farewells and tributes to authors and companions in João Paulo Cotrim’s artistic career multiply. André Carrilho, Alexandra Lucas Coelho, José Teófilo Duarte and Bárbara Bulhosa were some who marked this match.

The President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, lamented the “precocious death” of João Paulo Cotrim, considering him “one of those figures without which no healthy culture can live”. It is “sad news for Portuguese culture”, as well as “for the arts of which, for decades, he was an extremely active creative and a tireless promoter”.

“He was one of those figures that no healthy culture can live without: the talented doer who takes care of his work, but above all promotes that of others”, said the Portuguese head of state in a note published on the website of the Presidency of the Republic on the Internet.

A man of many professions, he wrote books for childhood, in collaboration with some of the most talented young designers, such as João Fazenda or André Letria, he was a screenwriter, fiction writer, poet, journalist, columnist and essayist, as well as a biographer of Stuart Carvalhais and Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro, a lineage from which he descended”, he stressed.

“Three of the projects in his life were the Bedeteca de Lisboa, of which he was the first director, the Salão Lisboa de ilustration e Banda Desenhada and the publishing house Abysmo. In all of them, and in many others, he brought together wills, honored the masters, encouraged new ones, brought generations together, exercised imagination and humour”, highlighted Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, addressing “sentenced condolences” to the family.

The Minister of Culture, Graça Fonseca, lamented the death of writer, journalist and editor João Paulo Cotrim, who she called an “emblem figure in independent publishing and the dissemination of comics in Portugal”.

“Portuguese culture today loses an exemplary and model editor, who with rigor, professionalism and a good permanent disposition, left an indelible mark on the independent edition in Portugal and on the dissemination of comics and illustration among us”, says Graça Fonseca on a note of regret.

For the Minister of Culture, “João Paulo Cotrim’s professional career is inseparable from his work as a book and magazine editor, recognized by those who worked with him and by the many readers he conquered as a complete, friendly and committed editor”.

In the Abysmo and Arranha-Céus publishers or in magazines such as Lua Cheia, LX Comics or Ícon, his work was innovative, both in approaches and formats, standing out for the often bold investment in the graphic component of the works and periodicals that he edited”, he stated.

Graça Fonseca considers that, “in a multifaceted career, in which he became famous as an author, editor, journalist and screenwriter, it is also important to emphasize his deep commitment to literary programming and the promotion of reading”.

“In addition to his remarkable work as a writer of children’s literature, his contribution as coordinator of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation at Casa da Leia and the direction of Bedeteca de Lisboa between its foundation and 2002 deserves special mention. last project, a very significant impact on the preservation, promotion and dissemination of comics, illustration and cartoons in Portugal, as well as on the encouragement of creation in these media by Portuguese authors”, the note reads.

News updated at 6:51 pm with more information about the life of João Paulo Cotrim
Updated at 11 pm with the note of regret from the President of the Republic and the Minister of Culture

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Editor and founder of Bedeteca João Paulo Cotrim died aged 56