Maria Aurora Couto
Couto at her home in Carona, Aldona in 2015
  • Writer
  • professor
Notable works
  • Goa: A Daughter's Story
  • Filomena's Journeys
Notable awardsPadma Shri (2010)

Maria Aurora Couto is an Indian writer, and educationalist from Goa. She is best known for her book Goa: A Daughter's Story. She lives in the North Goan village of Aldona. She helped start the DD Kosambi Festival of Ideas and has been involved in activities of Goa University.

Early and personal life

Couto's family hails from the Bamonn community. Her parents, Francisco (Chico) Figueiredo and Filomena Borges, were both from Salcete. She moved to Dharwad with her parents and six siblings when she was a child, in the hope of eliminating her father's alcoholism because alcohol was banned there. Instead, her father chose to abandon his family, return to Goa and die prematurely from alcoholism.[1][2] Couto went on to teach English literature in colleges[3] like Lady Shri Ram College, Delhi and Dhempe College, Panaji[4] and has contributed to periodicals in India and the United Kingdom.

Her husband, Albano Couto, belonged to the Indian Administrative Service. She met him in Mumbai and they have three children together, one of whom is named Veena.[4] Due to the nature of his work, they would travel and stay across the country and they almost settled down in Chennai before finally settling down in Aldona, Goa,[5] in his ancestral house, where she still resides. She enjoys listening to South African jazz and is passionate about films, having started a film club when she was a teacher.[4] Albano Couto died in June 2009.[6]


Couto's writing career began with her 1986 book about Graham Greene.[3] Her 2004 book, Goa: A Daughter's Story, covers the history of Goa along with being an autobiography. The book discusses Goa, from the prehistoric times to its Portuguese colonialism to its Liberation and subsequent loss of culture.[7] In 2014, Couto released her book Filomena's Journeys, which delves into the life of her mother, Filomena Borges, covering "Goa’s dying Catholic elite" as it shows the shift of society and culture in Goa.[3]

Being the Chairperson of the DD Kosambi Centenary Committee in 2008, Couto helped initiate the DD Kosambi Festival of Ideas, a lecture series sponsored by the Department of Culture, Govt of Goa.[8] Couto has also been actively involved with the Goa University.[4]


The works of Couto include:


In 2010, the Government of India, awarded Maria Aurora Couto the Padma Shri, the fourth highest Indian civilian award.[9][10]


  1. ^ Couto, Maria Aurora (2013). Filomena's Journeys: A Portrait of a Marriage, a Family & a Culture. New Delhi: Aleph Book Company.
  2. ^ Moniz Barbosa, Alexandre (4 December 2013). "Maria Aurora Couto: A Goan daughter's story of her mother's inspiring journey". The Times of India. Retrieved 18 March 2020.
  3. ^ a b c Pisharoty, Sangeeta Barooah (26 March 2014). "A sketch in time". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 16 March 2020.
  4. ^ a b c d Coutinho, Tonella (10 May 2015). "Goa's daughter tells her story". The Times of India. Retrieved 21 March 2020.
  5. ^ "Mega debate at Canacona remains inconclusive". Herald Goa. 18 August 2010. Retrieved 4 April 2020.
  6. ^ "Alban Couto no more". The Times of India. 28 June 2009. Retrieved 4 April 2020.
  7. ^ Hoskote, Ranjit (4 April 2004). "Apparent divide, actual bridges". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 14 April 2004. Retrieved 21 March 2020.
  8. ^ "Dr Kosambi an active fighter for peace: Ansari". One 4 February 2008. Retrieved 21 March 2020.
  9. ^ "Padma Awards" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 November 2014. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  10. ^ "List of Padma awardees 2010". The Hindu. 26 January 2010. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 21 March 2020.