Portuguese novelist, José de Sousa Saramago, was born in in Azinhaga, a small village in central Portugal (1922).
We have a photo of José as a boy (figure 1). He recived the 1998 Nobel Prize in Literature. Saramago was from a family of landless peasants His family moved to Lisbon (1924). Portugal was a very poor country with a badly educated population. Sousa Saramago's work is the best desription we have pof Portugal im the early20th century. José returned to his birth village every summer. Sousa Saramago wrote about those summers spent with the grandparents in Azinhaga. In his speech at the Swedish Accademy (December 7, 1998), he recounted, "The wisest man I ever knew in my whole life could not read or write. At four o'clock in the morning, when the promise of a new day still lingered over French lands, he got up from his pallet and left for the fields, taking to pasture the half-dozen pigs whose fertility nourished him and his wife. My mother's parents lived on this scarcity, on the small breeding of pigs that after weaning were sold to the neighbours in our village of Azinhaga in the province of Ribatejo. Their names were Jerónimo Meirinho and Josefa Caixinha and they were both illiterate .... Many times I helped my grandfather Jerónimo in his swineherd's labour, many times I dug the land in the vegetable garden adjoining the house, and I chopped wood for the fire, many times, turning and turning the big iron wheel which worked the water pump. I pumped water from the community well and carried it on my shoulders. Many times, in secret, dodging from the men guarding the cornfields, I went with my grandmother, also at dawn, armed with rakes, sacking and cord, to glean the stubble, the loose straw that would then serve as litter for the livestock... In the village I always walked barefoot till I was fourteen."