June 21, 2010, 11:45 AM
In Portugal, Saramago’s Funeral Draws 20,000 Mourners, But Not the President
By DAVE ITZKOFF
President Anibal Cavaco Silva of Portugal defended his decision not to attend the funeral of the author José Saramago, saying he had never known Mr. Saramago during his lifetime, BBC News reported.
Mr. Saramago, who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1998, had left his native Portugal in 1992 after the Roman Catholic Church pressured the Portuguese government into disqualifying his novel “The Gospel According to Jesus Christ” from contention for the European Literary Prize. Mr. Saramago went into self-imposed exile in Lanzarote in the Canary Islands, where he died on Friday of multiple organ failure after a long illness.