Jose Saramago was an Portuguese auther and journalist who settled in Lanzarote was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1998. His house Casa Museo José Saramago opened in March 2011, to honor one José de Sousa Saramago, a Nobel-laureate Portuguese novelist, who spent the last years of his life in this house (1992-2010). The house preserves the original furniture, works of art acquired by the writer, and an extensive library.
One of the most beautiful features of Casa Museo José Saramago is the garden, cultivated by Saramago himself. Yet the most important part of the house is the library.
The son of rural labourers, Saramago grew up in great poverty in Lisbon. After holding a series of jobs as mechanic and metalworker, Saramago began working in a Lisbon publishing firm and eventually became a journalist and translator. He joined the Portuguese Communist Party in 1969, published several volumes of poems, and served as editor of a Lisbon newspaper in 1974–75 . His views aroused considerable controversy in Portugal, especially after the publication of The Gospel According to Jesus Christ. Members of the country’s Catholic community were outraged by Saramago’s representation of Jesus and particularly God as fallible, even cruel human beings. Portugal’s conservative government, led by then-prime minister Cavaco Silva, did not allow Saramago’s work to compete for the Aristeion Prize, arguing that it offended the Catholic community. As a result, Saramago and his wife moved to Lanzarote, an island in the Canaries.
More than two million copies of Saramago’s books have been sold in Portugal alone and his work has been translated into 25 languages.