A Companion to Mia Couto

A Companion to Mia Couto

Edited by Grant Hamilton, David Huddart

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This new research in English on the work of the Mozambican writer Mia Couto provides a comprehensive introduction to the critical terrain of Couto's literary thought.
Already well-established in the Lusophone world, Mia Couto is increasingly acknowledged as a major voice in World literature. Winner of the Camões Prize for Literature in 2013, the most prestigious literary prize honouring Lusophone writers, he was awarded the Neustadt International Prize for Literature in 2014, and in 2015 was shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize. Yet, despite this high profile there are very few full-length critical studies in English about his writing.

Mia Couto is known for his imaginative re-working of Portuguese, making it distinctively Mozambican in character. This book brings together some of the key scholars of his work such as Phillip Rothwell, Luís Madureira, and his long-time English translator David Brookshaw. Contributors examine not only his early works, which were written in the context of the 16-year post-independence civil war in Mozambique, but also the wide span of Couto's contemporary writing as a novelist, short story writer, poet and essayist. There are contributions on his work in ecology, theatre and journalism, as well as on translation and Mozambican nationalist politics. Most importantly the contributors engage with the significance of Couto's writing to contemporary discussions of African literature, Lusophone studies and World literature.

Grant Hamilton is Associate Professor of English literature at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He is the editor of Reading Marechera (James Currey, 2013).
David Huddart is Associate Professor of English literature at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and is author of Involuntary Associations: World Englishes and Postcolonial Studies (Liverpool University Press, 2014]

Table of Contents

Introduction - Grant Hamilton and David Huddart
An Interview with Mia Couto [translated from the Portuguese by David Brookshaw] - Grant Hamilton and David Huddart
Mia Couto in Context - David Brookshaw
Uma coisa fraterna: Mia Couto & the Mutumbela Gogo Theatre Group - Luis Madureira
Reading Raiz de Orvalho: Counterpointing Literary Genres in the Work of Mia Couto - Elena Brugioni
Spaces of Magic: Mia Couto's Relational Practice - Irene Marques
Mia Couto or the Art of Storytelling - Patrick Chabal
The Multiple Worlds of Mia Couto - Bill Ashcroft
"Ask Life": Animism & the Metaphysical Detective - David Huddart
Mia Couto & Translation - Stefan Helgesson
Jesusalém: Empty Fathers & Women's Texts - Phillip Rothwell
Trauma: Repetition & Pure Repetition in The Tuner of Silences - Grant Hamilton
Seeing Like a Crocodile Bird: Mia Couto's The Last Flight of the Flamingo - Andrew Mahlstedt
Mia Couto & Nostalgia: Reading The Last Flight of the Flamingo - Emily Chow
Mia Couto, Contexts & Issues: A Bibliographic Essay - Grant Hamilton and David Huddart


"The essays here illuminate the work of Mia Couto in an effort to move beyond the easy categories so often applied to his work, in particular that of magic realist. The texts here demonstrate the need for Western audiences and critics, in particular, to reinvent the lexicon we use to discuss Couto's work in the same way he has reinvented Portuguese: they show in great detail the way in which the writer's poetic prose extends far beyond aesthetic considerations in service of a larger project so often misunderstood by readers and critics alike. This is a welcome aide to understanding one of today's most important writers." - Eric M. B. Becker, translator of Mia Couto and editor of Words without Borders

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