Mia Couto

Mia Couto, whose real name is António Emílio Leite Couto, was born in Beira, the second largest city in Mozambique, in 1955. He moved to Lourenço Marques in 1971 to study medicine at the colonial university. After the independence, he got a degree in Biology at the Eduardo Mondlane University. He worked as a journalist with the newspaper A Tribuna and was the director of Agência de Informação de Moçambique. He ran the magazine Tempo and worked for the newspaper NotíciasHis first published literary work was a collection of poems, Raiz de Orvalho (Dew's Root, 1983). Since then, he published several novels, as well as collections of short stories, chronicles and novellas. Among them, Vozes Anoitecidas (Voices Made Night, 1986); Cada Homem É uma Raça (Every Man Is a Race, 1990), Cronicando (1991), Terra Sonâmbula (Sleepwalking Land, 1992)  Estórias Abensonhadas (1994); A Varanda do Frangipani (Under the Frangipani, 1996), Vinte e Zinco (1999), O Último Voo do Flamingo (The Last Flight of the Flamingo, 2000), Um Rio Chamado Tempo, uma Casa Chamada Terra (A River Called Time, A House Called Earth, 2002), O Fio das Missangas (The Thread of Missangas, 2003), O Outro Pé da Sereia (The Mermaid’s Other Foot, 2006), Venenos de Deus, Remédios do Diabo (God's Poisons, Devil's Remedies, 2008), Jesusalém (2009), A Confissão da Leoa (The Lioness Confession, 2012), Vagas e Lumes (2014). His novel Terra Sonámbula, was voted one of the 100 best works of African fiction of the 20th century. In 2013, he was awarded Prémio Camões, the highest literary prize for a Portuguese-language writer.


The Nation by Mia Couto:

"I am not sure if what really exists are nations because that presupposes that we’re all talking about the same concept, but what probably exists are feelings of being associated with something, they’re ideas of identities which different peoples in Mozambique have and which probably define them as separate nationalities. The Tsonga in the south of Mozambique probably have an idea. They define themselves as a people. They have a well-defined identity that distinguishes them from others. But does that constitute a nation? I don’t know. There are various presuppositions at work there. The idea that there is a Tsonga nation and that it exists alongside the Ronga, the Shangaan, the Xitsa is also a preconceived idea. I don’t know if these people conceived of themselves as such because these are very recent historical processes. These are recently fabricated things. It’s for that reason that I don’t know if we have nations which can be referred to as such with all this weight and with such rigour, or if what we have are different identities that are being developed all through history and come to constitute identities, which I am not sure can all be designated in the same manner."

30-11--0001 Autor: