Orlando da Costa

Orlando António Fernandes da Costa (July 1929 − 27 January 2006) was a Portuguese writer. He was an eminent novelist and poet, author of the prize-winning novels O signo da ira (1961) and O Último Olhar de Manú Miranda (2000), and of many other literary works.

Of Goan descent on his father Luís Afonso Maria da Costa’s side and of Portuguese and French on his mother Amélia Maria Fréchaut Fernandes’ side, he was born in Lourenço Marques, Mozambique, a Portuguese colony at the time. He spent his youth in Margao, Goa, Portuguese India, another Portuguese colony. At the age of 18, he left Goa and traveled to Lisbon, where he studied history and philosophy at the Universidade de Lisboa. In 1951, Costa published his first work, a poetry book entitled A Estrada e a Voz. He continued publishing, not only poetry, but also drama and romance.

During the 1950s, Orlando da Costa spent most of his time in the House of the Students of the Empire, an institution mainly built to house students from the colonies that were studying in the metropole. There, he came in contact with many of the future leaders of the nationalist movements of the colonies, such as the MPLA, the FRELIMO and the PAIGC. Between 1950 and 1953 he was arrested three times by the Salazar government.

Orlando da Costa joined the Portuguese Communist Party in 1954, during the dictatorial regime of Oliveira Salazar, when the Party was still outlawed. He developed his work as a communist in the intellectual sector of the Lisbon region.

Orlando da Costa was the father of Isabel dos Santos da Costa, who died as a child, as well as politician António Costa, 119th and current Prime Minister of Portugal, former Mayor of Lisbon, Minister (Parliamentary Affairs, Justice and Internal Affairs), MP, MEP and Vice-President of the European Parliament, born of his first marriage to writer Maria Antónia Palla, née de Assis dos Santos. He was also the father of journalist Ricardo Costa, editor of the weekly Expresso, from his second marriage to Inácia Martins Ramalho de Paiva.


  • 1951 − A Estrada e a Voz
  • 1953 − Os Olhos sem Fronteira
  • 1955 − Sete Odes do Canto Comum
  • 1961 − O Signo da Ira
  • 1964 − Podem Chamar-me Eurídice
  • 1971 − Sem Flores nem Coroas
  • 1979 − Canto Civil
  • 1984 − A Como Estão os Cravos Hoje?
  • 1994 − Os Netos de Norton
  • 2000 − O Último Olhar de Manú Miranda


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