With various activities sponsored by the foundation that bears his name and with the admiration of its millions of readers, this November 16 the world celebrates the centenary of the birth of José Saramago.
Marisol Schulz Manaut, who was his editor and friend of the writer, tells MILLENNIUM that José Saramago loved Mexico. “He was a strange, divine, kind man, who I loved everything Mexican Except for the food and he said it was ‘food from hell’ and he didn’t understand why they put chili on everything”.
Within the framework of the Guadalajara International Book Faira tribute will be made to him “from the emotions, it will be a sentimental moment and from the heart”, adds the editor.
Among his memories of the writer, Schulz shares that his wife, Pilar del Río, translated it. “The discussion of how his work was going to be handled and edited was already at home, as a couple. Saramago wrote four pages and, simultaneously, Pilar was already translating them. So there was a dialogue there and, sometimes, the edition in Portuguese and in Spanish came out simultaneously”.
Something that only happened with Saramago. “Another writer first has to finish the book and then look for a translator to translate it into another language and then revise it and this did not happen with Saramago, because he already had someone at home who was translating it,” says the director of the FIL Guadalajara.
The magic of the writer
In the book Saramagia: Testimonies and memories about José Saramago in his time in Mexico, which will be published by Editorial Grano de Sal, Marisol Schulz wrote: “Saramago established a permanent relationship with the Mexico of those below. That affection of the people for a writer who, although he was at the top of universal literature, never lost his human side or his simplicity, I witnessed many times, not only in academic and literary events, but also in everyday life. day. I can narrate many stories that would only account for his humility and modesty, for everything that defined a man who, above all else, was a great human being, stripped of everything that the investiture of being a Nobel Prize winner gave him. Every time a signing of his books was announced, the reading public—made up mostly of young people—crammed through the lines shouting his name. For a man of Saramago’s age, those signatures were exhausting, but he would not leave until he signed the copies of all those who had come. It didn’t matter to him whether it was in a bookstore, at a public reading, or at a book fair.
The book will be published in December, but with permission from the publisher, andn this web page, you can read the complete text written by Marisol Schulz.
The book Saramagia is coordinated by Alma Delia Miranda and the prologue reads: “’In Mexico I earned my name,’ José Saramago once said, and it doesn’t seem like it was just a compromise with his hosts from Morelia to Monterrey, from Guadalajara to Chiapas, or in the many university campuses that received the novelist”.
Twenty-two witnesses gather in the book to remember Saramago’s passage through the country, who loved him long before he won the prize Nobel Prize for Literature in 1998. In the book are writers such as Elena Poniatowska, Hernán Lara Zavala or Horacio Costa, as well as the publishers who adapted and circulated their work among the Mexican public.
There are also personal memories of unrepeatable moments with the novelist from Lanzarote: a visit to the Pyramid of the Sun in Teotihuacán, talks next to sources of dirty water that have become legendary, meals too spicy for a Lusitanian stomach, the impulse that led to the creation at UNAM of one of the first Portuguese literature courses in Latin America and, always, an irresistible magnetism that produced endless lines to obtain autographs in books such as Essay on blindness or The gospel according to Jesus Christ. In these memories, the writer and his work are seen in the light of his readers in Mexico, a country that became —in its own right— the capital of saramagia.
Elena Poniatowska writes: “If man conquered the moon in 1969, Saramago conquered Mexico in 1998, and not only uneasy readers but also rebels capable of raising a guerrilla in the Lacandona Jungle.”
“Her figure, kind and humble, her commitment to social struggles, the serenity with which she expressed herself in Portuñol, since she was more interested in capitalizing on her time listening and discussing her ideas with people, all of this persists to this day,” adds Ana. Rita Sousa in the book.
A tribute in Guadalajara
On the occasion of the centenary of the writer, FIL Guadalajara will pay tribute to him: “José Saramago died on June 18, 2010, but his voice, his figure, his ideas, his words, his political commitment and his immense literary work will remain with us”.
An interesting fact is that Saramago met the current president when he was head of the city government. The writer came to declare in 2005 that Andrés Manuel López Obrador would be president of MexicoHe even protested when the lawlessness against the latter was promoted.
The José Saramago Foundation made a program to evoke the centenary with the publication of his biography, literary production, academic meetings, exhibitions and different activities. For the foundation it was a privileged opportunity to consolidate the presence of the writer in cultural and literary history in Portugal and in the world.
The program begins today at 10 in the morning, when students from Portugal, Spain and other countries will read excerpts from Saramago’s novels in a program entitled Centennial Readings.
At the FJS headquarters, in Lisbon, the reading of the As Little Memories, an autobiography that recounts the writer’s childhood, with guided tours and musical moments; the program is repeated at A Casa José Saramago, in Lanzarote.
The 100th tree of the “100 olive trees for Saramago” project will be planted in the Azinhaga district. The party will end at night at the Teatro São Carlos with the presentation of the opera blimundaby Azio Corghi.
“José Saramago readers around the world will also be able to join the celebrations through social networks by sharing their favorite passages from the writer’s books with the hashtag #Saramago100 “, spread the foundation.
Saramago in privacy
In The intuition of the island. The days of José Saramago in Lanzarote, published by Alfaguara, Pilar Del Río, his widow, builds a mosaic of moments lived, Shared emotions and the books written under the light of the island that the Portuguese writer chose to live.
“A way of sharing with readers singular moments lived in To home and what life was like for José Saramago while he was writing his works: the walks around Lanzarote, the ideas from which his novels arose, the coexistence with his dogs, the meetings on the island with friends like Carlos Fuentes, Ernesto Sábato, Susan Sontag or Bertoluccithe experiences that he brought from the trips and the friendships forged”, sums up the editorial.
He was born into a family of landless peasants in Azinhaga, a small town located in the province of Ribatejo, about 100 kilometers northeast of Lisbon.
His parents were named José de Sousa and Maria da Piedade. José de Sousa would also have been the name of the writer, but the civil registry official decided to add the nickname by which his father’s family was known in the town: “Saramago”, the name of a spontaneous herbaceous plant, whose leaves, in times of need, served as food in the kitchen of the poor.
These fragments of some of the writer’s texts:
“For 19 years, until 1966, when I published Os Poemas Possíveis, I was absent from the Portuguese literary world, where very few people must have noticed my absence.”
“In 1986 I met the Spanish journalist Pilar del Río. We got married in 1988,” he wrote.
“Following the censorship exercised by the Portuguese Government on the novel El
gospel according to jesus christ (1991), vetoing its submission to the European Literary Prize on the pretext that the book was offensive to Catholics, my wife and I moved, in February 1993, our residence to the island of Lanzarote, in the Canary Islands. .
“In 1995 I published the novel Essay on blindness and in 1997 Todos os Nomes and O Conto da Ilha Desconocido. In 1995 I was awarded the Camões Prize and in 1998 the Nobel Prize for Literature”.
In 2007, the José Saramago Foundation was created, which assumes, among its main objectives, the defense and dissemination of contemporary literature.
Saramago’s books are translated into Albanian, German, Arabic, Azerbaijani, Bengali, Bulgarian, Cantonese, Spanish, Catalan, Czech, Korean, Croatian, Thai, Tamil, and Turkish, among many others.
Tribute to José Saramago at FIL Guadalajara
- Tuesday November 29
- 17:00 to 18:20
- Room 8, National Area, Expo Guadalajara
- They participate; Laura Restrepo, Paulo José Miranda, Pilar del Río, Marisol Schulz Manaut
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They will pay tribute to José Saramago at FIL Guadalajara