Jose Saramago: a celebration

Filed under: Biography

Ali Smith and translator Margaret Jull Costa celebrate the life and work of Jose Saramago

Poet, essayist, novelist and playwright José Saramago, who died in 2010 aged 87, was born to landless, illiterate peasants in rural Portugal. It was not until he was 60 that he won international acclaim for his fourth novel, Memorial do Convento, but he went on to win the Nobel Prize for Literature (1998), and is now, as Harold Bloom has written, ‘a permanent part of the Western canon’. A fervent communist, Saramago was preoccupied by the problem of evil and the ecological and social imbalances wrought by human greed, and he expressed the wish that the world might pause for 50 years so that richer nations could help ‘the millions who have been left behind’ to catch up. As the world moves on,Maya Jaggi who interviewed Saramago, Margaret Jull Costa who translates his work, and Ali Smith who loves it, celebrate his genius. Chaired by Maya Jaggi.

Recorded on  Monday 7 November 2011 at Europe House.

Image of José Saramago by Arturo Espinosa.

Related RSL Fellows

Margaret Jull Costa 2013
Ali Smith 2007