Goa has a population of around 1.4 million and an area of 3,700 sq. kilometres (1,430 sq. miles). For a small region, it has a significant amount of publication activity, possibly in part because its people write in a number of languages—perhaps as many as 13—and also because of the large expatriate and diaspora population of Goans settled across the globe.
Among its most noted writers are Laxmanrao Sardessai (1904-1986) and R. V. Pandit (1917-1990), both of whom wrote poetry and prose in Marathi, Konkani, and Portuguese; Shenoi Goembab (1877–1946), whose Konkani writing helped to establish Konkani as a modern literary language; Ravindra Kelekar (1925-2010), who wrote some of the twentieth century's foremost Konkani literature; and Pundalik Naik (1952-), whose 1977 novel Acchev was the first Konkani novel to be translated into English.
Goa was the first place in Asia to have a printing press, which was brought by the Jesuits in 1556. Nearly all of Goan literature before that time is known to have been destroyed by the Portuguese during the imposition of Inquisition. Goa's Portuguese colonial rulers can hardly be credited with meticulous record-keeping of Goan literature. Thus, Goa has had a long love affair with the written and printed word, although growth has been slow, and punctuated by problems like linguistic breaks and censorship.
Goans mediate between cultures, Goans live between different cultures, Goans are travellers from one part of the world to another. This, in my opinion, happened when East and West met in Goans under pressure with the Portuguese conquest. Since that time, our usefulness to the world, wherever we are, is that we can understand different cultures and help people from different cultures understand one another. The disadvantage is that if we don't work on it, we may end up not knowing who we are.
Literary writing in Goa began to take shape under Portuguese rule and influence, associated with Portugal's mid-nineteenth-century Regeneration, which saw the reintroduction of the press to Goa, along with expanded Portuguese education. A spate of Portuguese-language publications, 'such as A Biblioteca de Goa (1839), O Enciclopédico (1841-1842), O Compilador (1843-1847), O Gabinete Literário das Fontainhas (1846-1848), A revista Ilustrativa (1857-1866) and O Arquivo Portugués Oriental (1857-1866)', along with Júlio Gonçalves's Ilustraçao Goana (1864-1866), while often short-lived, provided new fora not only for the circulation of European literature (whether originally in Portuguese or in translation), but provided growing opportunities for Goans to publish literary and scholarly writing.
Later in the nineteenth century, vernacular writing began to emerge in strength, for example in Konkani, the widely spoken local vernacular. The Goan writer Shenoi Goembab (1877–1946) was foundational to developing modern Konkani literature. An official language of the region since 1987, Konkani is now studied in schools. Konkani literature emerged alongside the rapid growth of Marathi literature, in which the Goan R. V. Pandit was a notable exponent. S. M. Tadkodkar, who was conferred Ph.D. degree by Goa University for his exhaustive research work on Anant Kaakaba Priolkar, contends that while the Kannadd language of Karnataka province was dominating the Goan culture, Marathi language and culture was embraced by Goans. Now, Marathi has embraced the Goans and would not leave them, willingly. Maximum literature is published in Marathi. There are 8 Marathi dailies published from Goa. Prominent among them are Dianik Gomantak, Tarun Bharat, Lokamat, Navaprabha, Pudhari, Goadoot, Sanatan Prabhat. The Marathi daily Lokmat has the highest circulation (50000+) among all dailies.
In the late nineteenth century, extensive contacts with and migration to British-ruled India also encouraged English-language Goan writing, with early exponents including Joseph Furtado. Edward D'Lima, who has done his PhD on the Goan writer Armando Menezes, argues that Goan writing in English goes back to the late nineteenth century, when Goans were migrating out of this Portuguese-controlled colony in favour of jobs in the growing English-speaking British-ruled colonial world. English is probably the most influential literary language in Goa: 'a surge of creativity has erupted in Goan literature in English since 2000 in fiction and nonfiction, drama and poetry'.
Besides English, Konkani and Marathi, Goans, particularly those of the past generation, have contributed significantly to writings in Portuguese.
|Name||Dates||Principal language(s)||Principal forms||Notes|
|Ben Antao||1935-||English||fiction and non-fiction|
|Walfrido Antão||1950s-1980s||Portuguese||short stories|
|Carmo Azavedo||Portuguese||Noted for From the Tip of the Pen (Ao Bico da Pena).|
|Alexandre Moniz Barbosa||English|
|Silviano C. Barbosa||English||prose fiction||Their Canadian/Goan romance novel The Sixth Night takes you from a typically legendary life in Portuguese Goa in the 1950s all the way to Toronto, Canada.|
|Uday Bhembré||Konkani||short stories, plays|
|Luís de Menezes Bragança||1878-1938||Portuguese||journalism|
|Mário da Silva Coelho||Portuguese||poetry|
|José da Silva Coelho||1889-1944||Portuguese||short stories||Goa's most prolific Portuguese-language fiction-writer.|
|Alvaro da Costa||Portuguese||journalism|
|Suneeta Peres Da Costa||1976-||English||fiction||An Australian-born Goan diasporic writer, noted for her novel Homework.|
|Amadeo Prazeres da Costa||Portuguese||journalism|
|Francisco João "GIP" da Costa||1859-1900||Portuguese||short stories|
|Orlando Costa||1929-2006||Portuguese||poetry and novels|
|Maria Aurora Couto||English||prose fiction and criticism|
|Joao da Veiga Coutinho||1918-2015||English||Noted for A Kind of Absence: Life in the Shadows of History.|
|Nandita da Cunha||English||prose fiction|
|Ananta Rau Sar Dessai||1910||Portuguese, Marathi||poetry and radio theatre||Goa's pre-eminent Portuguese writer in the mid-twentieth century.|
|Vimala Devi (pseudonym of Teresa de Almeida)||1932-||Portuguese, Catalan, Esperanto||Pre-eminent literary critic of Lusophone Goan writing and a leading diasporic writer.|
|Agostinho Fernandes||1932-2015||Portuguese||novels||Author of a key post-independence novel, Bodki (1962).|
|Joseph Furtado||1872-1947||English, Portuguese||poetry|
|Shenoi Goembab||1877–1946||Konkani||prose fiction, translations|
|Antonio (J. Anthony) Gomes||English||prose fiction and poetry||New York-based writer of poetry: Visions from Grymes Hill and a much acclaimed novel, The Sting of Peppercorns, published by Goa 1556, Mirrored Reflection (a collection of poems) published by Goa 1556 & Fundacao Oriente, 2013.|
|Francisco Luis Gomes||1829–1869||Portuguese||The first Goan novelist.|
|Olivinho Gomes||1943-2009||Konkani, Portuguese, English||poetry, translations and criticism|
|Júlio Gonçalves||1846-1896||Portuguese||short stories|
|Ravindra Kelekar||1925-2010||Konkani||prose fiction|
|Lino Leitao||1930-2008||English||short stories||based in North America|
|Fanchu Loyola||1891-1973||Portuguese||journalism||One of Goa's leading independence activists.|
|Margaret Mascarenhas||English||literary fiction, poetry, essay|
|Telo Mascarenhas||1899-1979||Portuguese||journalism, poetry, prose fiction|
|Nascimento Mendonça||1884–1927||Portuguese||Through the Mythical Ayodya.|
|Dom Moraes||1938-||English||poetry, belles-lettres|
|Pundalik Naik||1952-||Konkani||novels and plays||Wrote the first Konkani novel to be translated into English.|
|Peter Nazareth||1940-||English||fiction||A Goan diasporic writer from Uganda, noted for the novel The General is Up along with literary criticism.|
|Alberto de Noronha||1920-2006||Portuguese||translations, criticism|
|Carmo Noronha||Portuguese||Works include Contracorrente (Panjim, Goa: 1991) and Escalvando na Belga (Panjim. Goa: 1993).|
|Leslie de Noronha||English||prose fiction and poetry|
|Epitácio Pais||1928-2009||Portuguese||short stories|
|R. V. Pandit||1917-1990||Marathi, Konkani, Portuguese||poetry||Most celebrated for his vast poetic production in Konkani.|
|Prakash S. Pariekar||Portuguese|
|Victor Rangel Ribeiro||1925-||English||prose fiction|
|Leopoldo da Rocha||Portuguese||Author of Casa Grande e Outras Recordações de um velho Goês (Lisbon: Vega, 2008).|
|Maria Elsa da Rocha||1924-2007||Portuguese||short stories, poetry|
|Alberto de Meneses Rodrigues||1904-1971||Portuguese||prose fiction|
|Augusto do Rosário Rodrigues||1910-?1999||Portuguese||short stories. poetry|
|Abhay Sardesai||poetry, translation|
|Laxmanrao Sardessai||1904-1986||Marathi, Konkani, Portuguese||poetry||Considered one of Goa's finest Marathi writers.|
|Frank Simoes||1937–2002||English||advertising and journalism|
|Carmo D'Souza||English||prose fiction||Author of Angela's Goan Identity, Portugal In Search of Identity and other books. In a recent lecture, D'Souza himself traced the indigenous imagery, and the impact of Portuguese on Goan writing.|
|Eunice De Souza||1940-||English||poetry and fiction||Mumbai-based.|
|S. M. Tadkodkar|
|Jessica Faleiro||1976-||English||fiction, poetry, essays||An Adult Third Culture Kid of Goan origin, noted for her novel ‘Afterlife: Ghost stories from Goa.’ She has also published non-fiction, short stories and poetry in print and online with Asia Literary Review, Forbes, Mascara Literary Review, Joao Roque Literary Review, IndiaCurrents, Kitaab, Muse India and Indian Quarterly, among others.|
|Selma Carvalho||English||fiction and non-fiction|
Goa Arts and Literary Festival (GALF) is a non- profit festival organised by volunteers. The first edition of GALF was held in 2010. The three-day fest had debates, lectures and discussions on art, music, photography, drawing a large audience from across the world at the International Centre of Goa, Dona Paula.
^ "Goan Literature: A Modern Reader", Journal of South Asian Literature Winter-Spring 1983
^ Translated in Manohar Shetty's Ferry Crossing