He spent his childhood in the village of Azinhaga, the family moved to Argentina time, and then settled in Lisbon.
He married Ilda Reis in 1944, with whom he had his daughter Violante.
This self-taught writer published his first novel, Land of sin, in 1947. Although this book received rave reviews Saramago decided to remain unpublished for over twenty years. Journalist and member of the Portuguese Communist Party suffered censorship and persecution during Salazar's dictatorship. He joined the so-called Carnation Revolution that brought democracy to Portugal, in 1974.
Skeptical and intellectual maintained an ethical and aesthetic above partisan politics, and committed to the human race. A controversial view of history and culture are the crux of his works.
He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1998, becoming the first Portuguese writer to do so. He has been honored for his work with numerous awards and honorary degrees (from the Universities of Turin, Leeds, Manchester, Castilla-La Mancha and Brasilia). He was awarded the Camoes, Cervantes Prize equivalent in Portuguese-speaking countries.
His work is considered by critics worldwide as one of the most important contemporary literature.
He spent his last years at his home in the Spanish island of Lanzarote (Canary Islands), the aldo his wife Pilar del Rio.
Elevation of the ground (1980) was the novel that revealed as the great Portuguese novelist mature and refreshing. It is a historical novel set in the Alentejo between 1910 and 1979, a peasant language, a solid structure and documented and humorous and sarcastic style that drew a lot of attention at the time. Followed by works of great interest as Memorial of the Convent (1982), The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis (1984), The Stone Raft (1986), History of the Siege of Lisbon (1989), The Gospel According to Jesus (1991) and Blindness (1995), a work in which the author from ethical considerations warns of "the responsibility to have eyes when others lost".
He died on June 18, 2010.
1997 Cadernos of Lanzarote (Lanzarote Notebooks, compilation (1993/95))
2001 Cadernos of Lanzarote (Lanzarote Notebooks, collection (1996-1997))
As small memórias 2006. (The little memories, memories of his childhood)
Os 1966 Possíveis poems (Poems possible)
1970 Provavelmente joy (joy Probably)
1975 O Ano 1993 (year 1993)
2005 Complete Poetry (Anthology)
Quase Object 1978 (Almost an object, stories)
1979 Poetics two senses: or ouvido (The Five Senses: Hearing)
1998 O conto da ilha desconhecida (Tale of the Unknown Island, "All the islands, including the famous, are unknown until we land on them")
2001 A flower maior do mundo (The world's largest flower, children's story)
2009 The Notebook (Compilation Saramago blog)
1947 Terra sin (Land of Sin)
Claraboia 1948 (Skylight, novel never published)
1977 painting and calligraphy Manual (Manual of Painting and Calligraphy, philosophical novel about the figure of the artist)
1980 Lifted do chão (Raised soil, history of several generations of Portuguese peasants, witnessed the hardships of the field and of a fateful time, culminating in the triumph of the Revolution of the Carnations)
1982 Memorial of the Convent (Memorial of the Convent, the translation of Basilio Losada won the National Translation Award)
1984 or year of Ricardo Reis da morte (The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis)
1986 A raft of Pedra (The Stone Raft, the Iberian peninsula is clear from the rest of Europe and begins to sail across the Atlantic)
1989 História do Cerco de Lisboa (History of the Siege of Lisbon, in 1147)
1991 O Evangelho Segundo Jesus Cristo (The Gospel According to Jesus, original vision of the life of the founder of Christianity)
1995 Ensaio on to Cegueira (Blindness, a strange epidemic city condemns a white blindness)
1997 Todos os nomes (All names, José novel about a Kafkaesque bureaucrat finding civil registry in the tab of a woman, he does not know even the face, falls madly in love, and goes to find it)
2000 A Cavern (The Cave (novel), a novel of the Platonic myth and criticizes consumerism)
2002 O homem replacement (The Double, two men went really are identical: explores the anguish of being anonymous lost in a mass society)
2004 Ensaio on to lucidity (Essay on the lucidity, investigates the limits of democracy)
2005 As intermittent da morte (death Intermittently, about a country where people stop dying)
2008 A Viagem do Elefante (The Elephant's Journey)
1971 Deste world and do outro (In this world and the next, Chronicles published in the newspaper "A Capital")
1973 A bagagem do traveling (traveler's luggage, published in newspapers Chronicles "A Capital" and "Jornal do Fundão")
1974 As opiniões than or DL teve (The opinions DL had, Chronicles policies)
I Apontamentos 1977 (Notes, published in newspapers Chronicles "Diário de Lisboa" (1972-1973) and in the "Diario de Noticias" (1975))
1981 Viagem a Portugal (Journey to Portugal)
1979 A noite (Night)
Com May 1980 Farei this livro? (What shall I do with this book?)
1987 A second life of Francisco de Assis (The second death of Francis of Assisi)
1993 In Nomine Dei
2005 Don Giovanni ou O dissoluto absolvido
Honor Scholarship Student Residence at the University Carlos III (Madrid, Spain)
Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters (France)
Commander of the Military Order of Santiago de Espada (Portugal)
Doctor Honoris Causa by the University of the State of Mexico (Mexico)
Doctor Honoris Causa by the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (Spain)
Doctor Honoris Causa by the University of Brasilia (Brazil)
Doctor Honoris Causa by the University of Salamanca (Spain)
Doctor Honoris Causa by the University of Castilla-La Mancha (Spain)
Doctor Honoris Causa by the University of El Salvador (El Salvador)
Doctor Honoris Causa by the University of Costa Rica
Doctor Honoris Causa by the University of Manchester (United Kingdom)
Doctor Honoris Causa by the University of Seville (Spain)
Doctor Honoris Causa by the University of Turin (Italy)
Doctor Honoris Causa from the Polytechnic University of Valencia (January 21, 1999)
Theatre Grand Prix of the Portuguese Association of Writers
Great Romance and Novel Award (Associação Portuguesa da Writers), 1991 (Gospel According to Jesus).
Honorary Member of the Academy of the tongue Canaria
Corresponding Member of the Academia Argentina de Letras
Member of the European Academy of Yuste (Yuste, Spain)
Member of the Universal Academy of Cultures (Paris)
Member of the International Parliament of Writers (Strasbourg)
Member of the Board of Honor César Manrique Foundation (Lanzarote, Canary Islands)
Honorary Member of the Council of the Institute of Philosophy of Law and Historical and Political Studies of the University of Pisa (Italy)
Prize Archbishop John of San Clemente (Santiago de Compostela)
Brancatti Award (ZAFFERANA, Italy), 1992 (Blindness).
Prémio Camões (1995)
Award Cidade de Lisboa, 1980 (Lifted the ground).
Consagração Award of Carreira da Sociedade Portuguesa de Autores, 1995.
Critics Award (Portuguese Association of Film Critics), 1985 (The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis).
Award Dom Dinis (Fundação da Casa de Mateus), 1986 (The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis).
Ennio Ennio Flaiano Prize (Italy), 1992 (Lifted the ground).
Europeu of Communication Award "Jordi Xifra Heras" (Gerona)
Grinzane - Cavour (Alba, Italy), 1987 (The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis).
International Literary Prize Mondello (Palermo, Italy), 1992 (Blindness).
Lisbon Municipality Literary Award, 1983 (Memorial of the Convent).
Lisbon Municipality Literary Award
Nobel Prize for Literature (October 8, 1998).
Portuguese PEN Club Award, 1983 (Memorial of the Convent).
Pen Club Award, 1985 (The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis).
Penne Award (Mosca, Penne, Italy)
Award Rosalia de Castro (Vigo)
Scanno Award (Gabriele d'Annunzio University, Chieti)
Literária Life Award from the Portuguese Association of Writers, 1993.
Honorary Chairman of the company's non-executive Sintratel 
Honorary Member of the Portuguese Society of Authors (Lisbon)
The Independent Foreign Fiction Award (England), 1993 (The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis).
Favorite Son of Andalucia, 2007.