José Riço Direitinho was born in Lisbon in 1965 and studied Agronomy, specializing in Agrarian Economics and Rural Sociology. The book A Casa do Fim (1992) was his first published title in the field of fiction. He later published two novels: Breviário das Más Inclinações (Breviary of Bad Inclinations), which won the Ramón Gomez de la Serna award, and O Relógio do Cárcere (Prison Clock) which won the Villa de Madrid prize.
He lived for a year and a half in Berlin on a Berliner Künstlerprogramm bursary. There he wrote Histórias com Cidades (Stories with Cities), published in 2001.
Some of the stories in Um Sorriso Inesperado (An Unexpected Smile) were written at Ledig House, in New York, when he stayed there in 2004.His work has been published and translated in a number of countries, including Germany, Holland, Italy, Spain, France, Brazil, the United Kingdom and Israel.