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Famous Portuguese Writers to Add to Your Reading List

Famous Portuguese Writers to Add to Your Reading List

Whether you’re heading off on holiday or relaxing at home, nothing passes the time like diving into a good book. From Camões to Peixoto we’ve rounded up some famous Portuguese writers we love that you’re going to want to add for your “must-read”  list. Happy reading!

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José Saramago 1922-2010

famous portuguese writers

José Saramago is one of the most famous Portuguese writers and Portugal’s  only Nobel Laurate. He worked at many different jobs and only dedicated himself to writing full time in his fifties. His novels have become best sellers and are translated into more than 25 languages. If you travel to Lisbon you can visit the José Saramago Foundation in Casa dos Bicos, dedicated to his life and work.
I find it hard to recommend just one of his books, however I ‘ve tried to make a selection below, the first one regarded as his masterpiece was the first of Saramago’s books that I read and it left a lasting impression on me.




  • The Year of the Death of Richardo Reis (1984)  regarded to be his masterpiece.
  • The Gospel According to Jesus Christ (1994) 
  • Blindness (1997)  one of his most famous novel’s. Noted by the committe when announcing his Nobel Prize in 1998.


António Lopes Antunes 1942-famous portuguese writers

António Lobo Antunes qualified as a  psychiatrist and took his time getting started as a writer. He is one of those living writers “who will matter”, author of more than 20 books, greatly underappreciated and difficult to penetrate. He has been named as a contender for the Nobel Prize in Literature.

  • The Natural Order of Things





Fernando Pessoa 1888-1935

famous portuguese writers

Fernando Pessoa is the most widely recognised name in Portuguese literature worldwide.  His literary genius went largely unrecognised until after his death.  He wrote under various  “heteronyms” –  ( literary alter egos) with fully fledged personalities all having different views on life, death and each one had a biography, psychology, politics, religion and were all interconnected. If you travel to Lisbon you can visit Casa Fernando Pessoa an absolute must for literture lovers.
  • The Book of Disquiet, complied 50 years after Pessoa’s death,  is a masterpiece of existentialism. Get this Richard Zenith translation.





Sophia de Mello Breyner Andersen 1919-2004

famous portuguese writers

Sophia de Mello Breyner Andersen –  known simply as Sophia to Portuguese readers was born in 1919 in Viana do Castelo in the north of Portugal. She published her first collection of poems in 1945 and went on to write many further collections. Sophia was the first woman to receive Portugal’s highest literary honour, the Prémio Cãmoes. As well as poetry, Sophia wrote children’s books, plays essays, translations and two collections of stories.

  • Log Book –  one of my all time favourite poetry books, I always come back to it.
  • The Girl form The Sea  the stories included in this collection are classics of children’s literature and have been cherished by generations of Portuguese children.



Miguel Sousa Tavares 1952-

Miguel is the son of poet Sophia de Mello Breyner Anderson. He studied law but pursued his career in jorrnalism. His literary fiction debut Equador was one of the best selling books in Portugal when it was first published in 2003.  Set in Portuguese Equatorial Africa at the beginning of the 20th century, it is gripping story easy to read and to like. I have to admit this is a book I couldn’t put down.

•  Equator





Florbela Espanca 1893-1930

Florabela is a Portuguese poet and was contemporary of Fernando Pessoa. She was an unusually emamcipated woman for her time and place.

  • Florabela Espanca Selected Poems







Lídia Jorge 1946-

Lídia was born in the Algarve and studied French literature in Lisbon. She spent some years teaching in Angola and Mozambique, during the independence struggle. Her work represents a recent style of Portuguese writing the so called postcolonial generation of novelists who still dominate the literary scene in Portugal. She has received numerous prestigious prizes for her work.

The Migrant Painter of Birds –  one of the best comtemporary Portuguese novels.





Eugénio de Andrade 1923- 2005

Award winning poet and one of the leading names in contemporary Portuguese poetry. He has received many national and international prizes for his poetry.

  • Forbidden Words: Selected Poetry of Eugenio de Andrade






António Damasio 1944-

One of the most famous Portuguese writers to live outside Portugal. Damasio studied medicine at the University of Lisbon where he also completed his doctorate. Damsaio’s main field is neurobiology, his books deal with the relationship between emotions and brain substrates. He writes that hard- to- write book directed at both his peers and uninitiated lay people. His books have won many international books prizes and have been translated into more the 30 languages.

  • Looking for Spinoza: Joy, Sorrow and the Feeling Brain.





José Luís Peixoto 1974-

famous Portuguese writers

One of Portugal’s bestselling contemporary novelists and an author of increasing importance on the international scene.  José Luís has won many prestigious awards including the José Saramago Literary Award. His work has been translated into more than 20 languages.

  • The Impacable Order of Things






Miguel Torga 1907-1955

Miguel Torga is the pseudonym of Adolfo Correia da Rocha, he is one of the greatest Portuguese writers of the 20th century.  He came from a small village in Trâs- os-Montes, Portugal’s poorest region. At the age of 13 he had to go to Brazil to work on his uncle’s farm. He returned to Portugal at the age of 22 and began to study medicine in Coimbra University. His style preserves the originality of the language of the farmers of northern Portugal.

  • Tales From The Mountains






Mário de Sá-Carneiro 1890-1916


Mário de Sá Carneiro was a comtemporary of Fernando Pessoa. Together they wrote for Orpheu a literary magazine known for introducing modernism in Portugal. In 1913 he published one of his most famous works Confessions of Lúcio set in the fin de siècle artist circles of Paris and Lisbon. It deals with the friendship of two young Portuguese poets and their search for identity through love.

  • Lucio’s Confessions





Eça de Queiros 1845-1900

Eça de Queiros is one of the most famous Portuguese writers in the  realist style. He studied law in Coimbra, but his real interest lay in literature. He served as a consul first in Havana and then in England and Paris. During this time he wrote the novels for which he is best remembered, attempting to bring about social reform in Portugal through literature by exposing what he held to be the evils and absurdities of the traditional conservative social order. He is often quoted by journalists and writers when refering to contemporary Portuguese society.

  •  The Maias




Luís de Camões 1524-1580


Luís Vaz de Camões one of the most famous Portuguese writers whose mastery of verse has been compared to that of Shakespeare. He is best remembered for his epic poem Os Lusíadas (The Lusiads), which describes Vasco de Gama’s discovery of the sea route to India. Any list of famous Portuguese writers just wouldn’t be complete without him.

  • The Lusiads






Are there any famous Portuguese writers you’ve read that you’d like to tell us about? We’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.

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