Maria Dolors Orriols i Monset (Vic, 1914 - Barcelona, 2008) was a self-taught writer. As Isabel-Clara Simó has written, a "brave woman; the kind of woman who goes through life without fear –or overcoming her fears– a woman who has broken taboos, who has struggled for what she believes in, and who has worked tirelessly in her ardent passion for writing".
Although her first published works were the collections of short stories Cavalcades (Cavalcades, 1949) and Reflexos (Reflexes, 1950), she soon began to write novels, publishing Retorn a la vall (Return to the Valley, 1950), Cop de porta (A Slam of the Door, 1980), Contradansa (Counterdance, 1982), Petjades sota l'aigua (Underwater Footprints, 1984), Molts dies i una sola nit, o Una altra sonata a Kreutzer (Many Days and Just One Night, or Another Kreutzer Sonata, 1985), Una por submergida (A Submerged Fear, 1992) and El riu i els inconscients (The River and the Unaware). The latter book, written in 1950 but not published until 1990, is one of the most shocking accounts of the period after the Civil War in Catalonia. She has also published her autobiography, Escampar la boira (Clearing My Head, 2003).
As a great lover of the plastic arts, she was in touch with the most innovative artistic circles, in both Barcelona and Paris, where she travelled frequently. In 1960 she was an active participant in the founding of the first Contemporary Art Museum of Barcelona and was its first sub-director.
A direct style, vitality and great humanism are the predominating features throughout her work. During the years of the Franco dictatorship, Dolors Orriols was awarded several prizes that were organised in exile, but she is little known by the reading public today. It is an urgent priority that the work of this writer should be revised and studied.
Maria Dolors Orriols was an honorary member of Associació d'Escriptors en Llengua Catalana (Association of Catalan Language Writers – AELC).
Web page: Maria Lacueva for AELC.
Photographs from Àlbum Maria Dolors Orriols. Barcelona: PEN Català, 2004.
Translation: Julie Wark.