José de Sousa Saramago, GColSE was a Portuguese novelist, poet, playwright, journalist and recipient of the 1998 Nobel Prize in Literature. His works, some of which can be seen as allegories, commonly present subversive perspectives on historic events, emphasizing the human factor. Harold Bloom described Saramago as "a permanent part of the Western canon".
Awarded the 1998 Nobel Prize in Literature, more than two million copies of Saramago's books have been sold in Portugal alone and his work has been translated into 25 languages. He was a founding member of the National Front for the Defence of Culture in Lisbon in 1992. A proponent of libertarian communism, Saramago came into conflict with groups such as the Catholic Church. He was an atheist who defended love as an instrument to improve the human condition.
In 1992, the Portuguese government under Prime Minister Aníbal Cavaco Silva ordered the removal of The Gospel According to Jesus Christ from the European Literary Prize's shortlist, claiming the work was religiously offensive. Disheartened by this political censorship of his work, Saramago went into exile on the Spanish island of Lanzarote, upon which he resided until his death in 2010.