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Saramago ashes lie under Lisbon olive tree

The ashes of Portugal’s Nobel literature prize winner Jose Saramago were scattered under an olive tree Saturday brought from his native village and replanted near the Tagus river in Lisbon.

Saramago’s death on June 18 last year, aged 87, unleashed a massive outpouring of emotion in Portugal for the prodigal son who went into self-imposed exile in Spain’s Canary islands following a row over censorship.

The ceremony opposite Lisbon’s Casa dos Bicos, where the Jose Saramago foundation will be headquartered from November, was attended by his wife, Spanish journalist Pilar del Rio, political and cultural figures, and dozens of admirers.

Last year Portugal had declared two days of mourning for the writer.

Saramago, who described himself as a libertarian Communist, won the Nobel Prize in 1998 for such books as “Blindness,” “The Gospel According to Jesus Christ” and “Baltasar and Blimunda”.