Mia Couto was born in Beira, Mozambique in 1955. He dropped out of medical school to join the struggle against Portuguese colonialism in his country. When Mozambique became independent, in 1975, Couto was named Director of Information in the revolutionary government, and served as editor of two newspapers. In the 1980s, he returned to university to study environmental biology while beginning his writing career.
Couto is the author of more than 25 books of fiction, essays and poems. His novels and short story collections have been published in 20 languages. Two of his novels have been made into feature films and his books have been bestsellers in Africa, Europe and South America. In 2002, a committee of African literary critics named his novel Sleepwalking Land one of the twelve best African books of the twentieth century. His novels have been awarded major literary prizes in Mozambique, Portugal, Brazil and Italy.
Mia Couto lives with his family in Maputo, Mozambique, where he works as an environmental consultant and a theatre director.