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José Saramago


José Saramago was born in 1922 in Azinhaga, about 100 kilometres north-east of Lisbon. His father was called José de Sousa but the registrar recorded the child under the family nickname of Saramago (it means wild radish). When he was two, the family moved to Lisbon, where his father worked as a police officer, but Saramago still spent a lot of time with his grandparents in the countryside. As the family was not well-off, he went to technical school and then worked as a car mechanic. However, he started taking an interest in literature and read in the public library. He published his first novel in 1947, though it was a naturalist novel and now only of historical interest. It would be nineteen years before he published another book, his first collection of poetry. In the meantime he worked as a translator and then a journalist. As he was a communist, he was fired from his position as associate editor of the Diário de Nóticias in 1975, when the Portuguese government became more right-wing. As a result he had more time to spend on writing books and after publishing a couple of novels that had limited success, he published Memorial do convento (Baltasar and Blimunda) in 1982, which brought him international success. He has been controversial in Portugal for his political and religious views, being a communist and an atheist, and taking strong views on political events, such as being critical of the US embargo on Cuba and being highly critical of Israel. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1998. He died in 2010.

Other links

José Saramago
Jose Saramago
The Unexpected Fantasist
José Saramago (in Portuguese)
Interview (in Portuguese)


1947 Terra do pecado (novel)
1966 Os poemas possíveis (poetry)
1970 Provavelmente alegria (poetry)
1971 Deste mundo e do outro (essays)
1973 A bagagem do viajante (essays)
1973 O embargo (story)
1974 As opiniões que o Diáro de Lisboa teve (essays)
1975 O ano de 1993 (poetry)
1976 Os apontamentos (essays)
1976 Manual de pintura e caligrafia (Manual of Painting and Calligraphy) (novel)
1977 Objecto quase (The Lives of Things) (stories)
1979 Poética dos cinco sentidos – O ouvido (stories)
1979 A noite (drama)
1980 Levantado do chão (Raised from the Ground) (novel)
1980 Que farei com este livro? (drama)
1981 Viagem a Portugal (Journey to Portugal) (travel)
1982 Memorial do convento (Baltasar and Blimunda) (novel)
1984 O Ano da Morte de Ricardo Reis (The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis) (novel)
1986 A jangada de pedra (The Stone Raft) (novel)
1987 A segunda vida de Francisco de Assis (drama)
1989 História do cerco de Lisboa (The History of the Siege of Lisbon) (novel)
1991 O Evangelho segundo Jesus Cristo (The Gospel According to Jesus Christ) (novel)
1993 In nomine Dei (drama)
1994 Cadernos de Lanzarote
1995 Ensaio sobre a cegueira (Blindness) (novel)
1996 Moby Dick em Lisboa
1997 Todos os nomes (All the Names) (novel)
1997 O conto da ilha desconhecida (The Tale of the Unknown Island) (story)
1997 Cadernos de Lanzarote (novel)
1999 Discursos de Estocolmo (Nobel Prize lecture)
1999 Folhas políticas, 1976-1998 (essays)
2000 A caverna (The Cave) (novel)
2001 A maior flor do mundo (children’s)
2002 O homem duplicado (The Double) (novel)
2004 Ensaio sobre a Lucidez (Seeing) (novel)
2005 Don Giovanni ou o Dissoluto Absolvido (drama)
2005 As Intermitências da Morte (UK: Death at Intervals; US: Death with Interruptions) (novel)
2006 As Pequenas Memórias (Small Memories) (novel)
2008 A Viagem do Elefante (The Elephant’s Journey) (novel)
2009 Caim (Cain) (novel)
2011 Claraboia (Skylight) (novel)
2001 O Silêncio da Água (children’s)
2014 Alabardas, Alabardas, Espingardas, Espingardas(novel)
2016 O Lagarto (children’s)
2018 Último Caderno de Lanzarote (diaries)