Josep Maria Benet i Jornet
Josep M. Benet i Jornet was born in Barcelona in 1940. After obtaining an Arts Degree, he began to write plays.
He first became known with the play Una vella, coneguda olor (An Old, Familiar Smell, 1964), a work that was awarded the 1963 Josep M. de Sagarra Prize. This was followed by two plays that were published together in 1970, Fantasia per a un auxiliar administratiu (Fantasy for an Administrative Assistant) and Cançons perdudes (Lost Songs). His realist theatre continued with Berenàveu a les fosques (You Were Having Tea in the Dark, 1972) and Quan la ràdio parlava de Franco (When the Radio Used to Talk about Franco, 1979). However, with Revolta de bruixes (The Witches' Revolt, 1977) he adopted a more symbolic tone. In La desaparició de Wendy (The Disappearance of Wendy), the world of childhood and the period after the Civil War took on a mythical dimension. He has also written children's plays, among them Supertot (Supereverything, 1975), Helena a l'illa del baró Zodíac (Helena on the Isle of Baron Zodiac, 1975) and El somni de Bagdad (The Dream of Baghdad, 1977). In 1989, he premiered Ai, carai! (Oh, Gosh!) in the Teatre Lluire, while Desig (Desire) was staged in the Generalitat (Catalan Government) Centre Dramàtic in 1991. He received the National Prize for Theatre in 1995 for his work E.R., which was performed in the Teatre Lluire (1994) and made into a film called Actrius (Actresses, 1996) by Ventura Pons, Olors (Smells), at the National Theatre of Catalonia, directed by Mario Gas (2000), Això, a un fill, no se li fa (This, You Don't Do to your Kid, Teatreneu, 2002), L'habitació del nen (The Boy's Room, Teatre Lliure, 2003), Salamandra (Salamander, TNC, 2005), Dones que ballen (Women who Dance, 2010) and Com dir-ho? (How to say it?, 2013), amongst others. He also wrote the scripts for the first serials produced by Televisió de Catalunya (Poble Nou, 1993-94; Rosa, 1995-96; Nissaga de Poder (Lineage of Power), 1996-98; Laberint d'ombres (Labyrinth of Shadows), 1998-2000; and Nissaga, l'herència (Lineage, the Legacy, 1999), El cor de la ciutat, (The Heart of the City, 2000-2009) and Ventdelplà, (2005-2010).
His professional career has been recognized with several awards, such as Premio Nacional de Teatro (1995), Creu de Sant Jordi (1997), Premi de la Institució de les Lletres Catalanes of screen scripts (1998), Premi Max d'Honor (2010), Premi d'Honor de les Lletres Catalanes (2013) and Medalla de Honor de la SGAE (2015).
He is a honorary member of Associació d'Escriptors en Llengua Catalana (AELC, Association of Catalan Language Writers).
Authors: Montserrat Cerdà, Francesc Gil, Marta Puig and M. Josep Simó. Coordination: Maria Areny.
Updated by Nausica Solà.
Photographs: Personal files of the author / © Quim Llenas Cover.