Born in Cernache do Bonjadrin, Portugal. After his jurisprudence studies, he worked as a journalist, mainly for the daily Público, the portuguese partner in the worldmedia syndicate of newspaper, and a reference newspaper in Lisbon. He reported from conflicts in (alphabetical order) Afghanistan, Angola, Australia, Balkans, Bangladesh, Burma, Cape Verde, Guinea Bissao, Indonesia, Liberia, Moçambique, Rwanda, Sâo Tomé e Principe, Sierra Leone, Timor Leste, Zaire, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
In 1999 he completed his first book Baía dos Tigres, which describes a three and a half month journey from Angola to Mozambique, and depicts the destruction and degradation created by the civil wars, particularly in Angola. It won the award for best novel by the Portuguese PEN Club, and was subsequently translated into thirteen languages.