José Saramago

(1922 - 2010)

Born José de Sousa in 1922 to peasants in Portugal, José Saramago was given his surname by his town’s registrar; the name—a reference to a wild herbaceous plant often eaten by the town’s poor—was one by which Saramago’s paternal family had been known. He worked as a mechanic and civil servant before publishing his first novel, Land of Sin, at twenty­-four; his second didn’t appear for another thirty years. He received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1998.

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