Funeral for Portuguese Nobel Laureate in Lisbon

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Funeral for Portuguese Nobel Laureate in Lisbon

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Hundreds of people have paid their last respects to author, Jose Saramago, the only Portuguese writer to have won the Nobel Prize for Literature.

His funeral took place in the capital city, Lisbon, often a character in his books.

A controversial figure to the end, Portugal’s President didn’t attend the service for Saramago, though the Prime Minister filed past his coffin earlier.

His wife, journalist Pilar del Rio, watched and some mourners clapped, as his body began its final journey to a cemetery for cremation.

His coffin was covered in a Portuguese flag, a symbol of his reconciliation with the nation, after almost two decades of rancour.

Saramago died at the age of 87 on Friday, at his home in the Canary Islands.

He went into exile 17 years ago, after a dispute with Portugal’s right-wing administration over his work “The Gospel According to Jesus Christ”.

They considered it was offensive to Catholics.

But on his death, the Portuguese Prime Minister called Saramago “a great cultural figure”, whose loss “left the culture of Portugal poorer”.