About the centenary
The 16th of November 2022 is the centenary of José Saramago. As in similar circumstances happens with other great figures, the anniversary will be a privileged opportunity to consolidate the writer's presence in cultural and literary history, in Portugal and abroad. And also to pay homage to his figure as a citizen.
That consolidation involves revisiting a literary and civic activity that has marked the Portuguese and international scene for decades, but that goes beyond that; it includes the affirmation of a work with an unquestionable vitality, as well as the accentuation of José Saramago's social, political and ethical thought. And also what this thought resonates with our present. The Letter of Duties and Obligations of Human Beings synthesizes, by its spirit and its effects, much of the Saramagian legacy.
The award of the Nobel Prize for Literature confirmed an international acclaim that made José Saramago a personality with great significance, beyond the borders of Portugal. Thus, Saramago defines himself today as a “writer of the world”, with an expressive presence in artistic, educational, political and social manifestations with wide dissemination and varied effects. These effects include those arising from the presence of Saramagi work in our education system and in the dissemination of Portuguese language and culture throughout the world.
In articulation with other entities, the José Saramago Foundation is preparing a broad program to evoke the centenary, divided into four axes: the axis of biography, paying attention to the biographical, formative and civic trajectory of the writer, in relation to his literary production ; the axis of reading, understanding the writer's centenary as an appropriate time to reinvigorate the reading of his work and also to conquer new, hopefully young readers; third, the axis of publications, both in terms of evocative works, dissemination or transliterary extension, as in illustrated editions, with iconography of the writer and his work; the axis of academic meetings, since José Saramago is a writer with a strong presence in academia, in Portugal and abroad, motivating scientific meetings in different places.
It can be anticipated that the centenary of José Saramago will trigger initiatives from very different entities, in Portugal and in other parts of the world. In this context, the José Saramago Foundation (FJS) will assume its central role, respecting, of course, the autonomy of the actors and institutions that will make their own contributions to the centenary.
Carlos Reis, Commissioner for the Centenary of José Saramago, February 2021