Noted Goan Writer And Academic Maria Aurora Couto Passes Away

Maria Aurora Couto
Maria Aurora Couto writer, memoirist and critic, who was known for upholding Goa’s transcultural traditions passed away in Goa after a brief illness.

The author is best known for her book Goa: A Daughter’s Story. She lived in the North Goan village of Aldona. She helped in starting the DD Kosambi Festival of Ideas and has been involved in with the Goa University. She was awarded the Padma Shri in 2010.

Her family hailed from the Bamonn community. Her parents, Francisco (Chico) Figueiredo and Filomena Borges, were both from Salcete. She had six siblings and the family moved to Dharwad while she was a child. Her father who was an alcoholic later abandon his family to return to Goa.

Couto taught English literature in Delhi’s Lady Shri Ram College (LSR) and Dhempe College in Panaji. She has been a contributors to periodicals in India and the UK. She married Albano Couto, who worked for the Indian Administrative Service. She first met him in Mumbai. Together they have three children together.  She enjoyed listening to South African jazz and is passionate about films, having started a film club when she was a teacher. Her husband Couto died in June 2009.

She translated A.B. Braganza Pereira’s Ethnography of Goa, Daman and Diu from Portuguese.

Twitter tributes have been pouring in for the pioneering writer. Ramchandra Guha wrote on twitter, “Deeply saddened to hear of the passing of the writer, scholar, and teacher Maria Aurora Couto. She lit up the lives and opened the minds of all those who came in contact with her. In her character and personality, Maria seamlessly blended the best of Goa, India, and the world.”

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Senior Journalist, Sagarika Ghose, wrote, “Farewell Maria Aurora Couto How will I ever get used to not receiving your loving messages from Goa? Scholar, writer, daughter of Goa, Maria Couto exemplified grace and warmth.”