Ignasi Riera i Gassiot (Barcelona, 1940), is a writer, journalist, lecturer and parliamentarian. He has a degree in Philosophy and Letters and another in Theology from the Society of Jesus Faculty in Sant Cugat del Vallès, as well as a degree in Romance Philology from the University of Barcelona. In 1969 he left the Seminary and went to live in Cornellà de Llobregat, where for fifteen years he was a town councillor for PSUC (Unified Socialist Party of Catalonia) and IC-EV (the Left-Greens party) and responsible for the area of Culture. He was a member of the Parliament of Catalonia from 1988 – 1992 and 1995 – 1999. In 2003 he moved to live in Madrid.
He has taught adults at the Clot Technical Training School, was Secretary of the Association of Catalan Language Writers (AELC) from 1983 to 1991 and he also worked in publishing for fifteen years. He has translated works by Célestin Freinet and other writers into Catalan and is, furthermore, a well-known radio commentator, in both Catalan and Spanish programmes. He appears frequently in the press, with daily columns in El País or Avui, writing also for scientific and cultural reviews like El Temps or Serra d'Or, and is on the editorial boards of the publications Nous Horitzons and Taula de Canvi.
As a writer, he has worked in different genres, publishing over fifty books in the form of novels, short stories, essays, biography and pamphlets. An expert on cultural, political, social and immigration issues in the Baix Llobregat area in particular, and in Catalonia in general, Ignasi Riera is one of the country’s most critical and incisive voices. This is particularly notable in the often ironic and caricaturesque spirit of his essays and of his narrative works, for which he has been awarded a number of prizes. Outstanding among the latter are Honorable Mr. R (Honourable Mr. R – 1980 Andròmina Prize for Fiction), El rellotge del pont d'Esplugues (The Clock on Esplugues Bridge – 1984 Ramon Llull Prize), Bla, bla, bla... (1989 Pere Quart Prize for Humour and Satire) and Memòries d'un nen golut (Memoirs of a Gluttonous Boy – winner of the 2005 Roc Boronat Short Story Prize).
He has also published biographical works on Jordi Solé Tura (1983), Francesc Candel (1988), Jordi Pujol (2001), Lluís Llach (2002) and his uncle, the writer Joan Oliver (1992, 2000). Fruit of his love of good food and wine are several books on gastronomy, for example Llibre d'hores del ben menjar (Book of Hours of Good Eating – winner of the 2003 Vives i Molins prize for the Essay on Gastronomy).
He is a honorary member of Associació d'Escriptors en Llengua Catalana (AELC, Association of Catalan Language Writers).
Web page by Guillem Molla for AELC.
Photographs: © Pere Virgili, © Jordi Garcia.
Translation: Julie Wark.