Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen was born into an aristocratic family on 6 November 1919 in Porto. The young woman studied classical philology at the University of Lisbon and published her first poems in 1940, in Cadernos de Poesia. In 1944 her first book, Poetry, was published.
In 1946, she married the journalist, politician and lawyer Francisco Sousa Tavares. Sophia was the mother of five children, including Miguel Sousa Tavares, a renowned lawyer and journalist.
Civically engaged, the poetess did not hesitate to publicly denounce the Salazar regime and its supporters. One of her poems is dedicated to the memory of Catarina Eufémia, a symbolic figure of the resistance to the Salazarist regime.
Her work has been translated into several languages and has received several awards, including the Camões Prize (1999), the Max Jacob Poetry Prize (2001) and the Reina Sofia Iberoamerican Poetry Prize (2003).
Sophia's extensive work spans the fields of poetry, fiction, non-fiction, essays, theatre and translation (versions of texts by Euripides, Shakespeare, Claudel and Dante).
The poet died on 2 July 2004 in Lisbon. Ten years later, in 2014, she was posthumously honoured by the State and her remains were transferred to the National Pantheon.
In 2019, the centenary of her birth is also celebrated in Luxembourg.