José SaramagoBiography

José Saramago
Portugal was the inspiration and setting for many of José Saramago's works, notably in The Elephant's Journey,, The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis, Baltasar and Blimunda and Raised from the Ground. Locations that were the destination of memorable journeys and stories - and that continue to invite new 'travellers' to discover the wonders of the country.


The author of more than forty books, José Saramago was born in 1922, in the village of Azinhaga. The nights spent in the public library of Galveias Palace, in Lisbon, were fundamental to his education.

«And it was there, without help or advice, guided only by curiosity and the will to learn, that my taste for reading was developed and refined.»

José Saramago
José Saramago
José Saramago


In 1947 he published his first book which he entitled The Widow, but which, for editorial reasons would come out under the title Country of Sin. Six years later, in 1953, he would finish the novel Skylight, which was only published after his death.


At the end of the 1950s he became responsible for production at Editorial Estúdios Cor, a post he would later combine from 1955 with that of translator and literary critic. He returned to writing in 1966 with Possible Poems.


In 1971 he became an editor at the newspaper Diário de Lisboa and in April 1975 he was appointed assistant director of Diário de Notícias.

José Saramago
José Saramago nos anos 70©Arquivo da FJS/Direitos Reservados


In early 1976, he settled in Lavre to document his writing project on peasants without land. Thus, was born the novel Raised from the Ground and the narrative style that characterises his fictional novels. Until 2010, the year of his death on 18th June in Lanzarote, José Saramago built up a body of work that is unmistakable in Portuguese and universal literature, with titles ranging from Baltasar and Blimunda to Cain, and including The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis, The Gospel According to Jesus Christ, Blindness, All the Names and The Elephant's Journey, all of which have been translated worldwide.


In 2007 a foundation bearing his name was established in Lisbon, working towards the dissemination of literature and the defence of human and environmental rights, taking the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as its guiding document.


Since 2012 the José Saramago Foundation has had its headquarters in Casa dos Bicos in Lisbon. José Saramago was awarded the Camões Prize in 1995 and the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1998.

José Saramago's books are published in the following countries: Albania, Angola, Argentina, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Colombia, South Korea, Croatia, Cuba, Denmark, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, the Netherlands, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, the United States of America, Hungary, India, Iran, Iraq, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Macau, Macedonia, Mexico, Mozambique, Montenegro, Norway, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Taiwan, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Uruguay and Vietnam.

José Saramago's books are translated into the following languages: Albanian, Arabic, German, Azerbaijani, Bengali, Bulgarian, Cantonese, Castilian, Catalan, Czech, Korean, Croatian (Latin alphabet), Danish, Slovak, Slovenian, Esperanto, Euskera, Farsi, Finnish (Suomi), French, Georgian, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Dutch, Hungarian, English, Icelandic, Italian, Japanese, Latvian, Lithuanian, Malay, Malaysian, Mandarin, Norwegian, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Sardinian, Serbian (Cyrillic alphabet), Swedish, Thai, Tamil, Turkish, Ukrainian, Valencian and Vietnamese.

Journey to portugal


6 new writers

12 places revisited

a new written view

Embark on a new literary journey through twelve places in Portugal once visited and described by José Saramago in his book Journey to Portugal (Viagem a Portugal, 1981). A project that is described as a contemporary account of the journey and places visited by the 'traveller' in the book of the same name.