Gemma Sales i Amill (born Esquerra de l'Eixample, Barcelona, autumn 1945) was trained in the humanities and studied Fine Arts at Escola de la Llotja and the Cercle Artístic Sant Lluc in Barcelona. She has a postgraduate degree in illustration from the Eina art school and has completed courses and participated in seminars on philosophy, literature, contemporary art and symbolism at the Institute of Humanities (Barcelona). She began her professional career illustrating comics and in the graphic arts.
In 1985 she published her first stories in the newspaper Avui, in a collection of stories for beginner readers — Els Peluts (The Hairy Ones) — and she also wrote the text for comic strips in the magazine Rodamón. In 1994 the publishing house Joventut published her first story as author and illustrator, M'agraden els monstres (I Like Monsters). As an illustrator of children's books, she has worked in particular for the French publisher MSM. The children’s stories she has written have been translated into Spanish, Italian, Japanese, English, Cantonese, Mandarin and Korean. Two titles — The Scarf and Mummy Elephant's Birthday — which were published in Japanese have subsequently been adapted in animated cartoon form for teaching English to Korean and Chinese children. The story Conta'm una història trista (Tell Me a Sad Story) besides being published in Catalan, Spanish and Chinese, and included in a major anthology of the twenty best children's stories in Catalan literature. Her story Els Cornins boscans (The Wild Horned Ones) was set to music by the Taller de Músics (Musicians' Workshop) of Tarragona. She has published several titles for beginner readers, including Quants tràfecs per un coixí (What a Hubbub for a Pillow) and Dorms molt, Joana (You're a Sleepyhead, Joana). In 1992 she received the "Serra d'Or" Critics' Prize for Illustration with her book La lluna i els miralls (The Moon and the Mirrors), while in 2003 she was awarded the First Parcir Prize for the Illustrated Work for her story Adéu, adéu... (Goodbye, Goodbye …), for which she wrote the text and did the illustrations.
Gemma Sales gives creative writing and illustration workshops for children and adults. She combines her writing and illustrating work with teaching drawing and painting at the Freire School for Adults.
She is a member of the Association of Catalan Language Writers and also of PEN Club.
Web page: Nausica Solà for AELC.
Documentation: Gemma Sales.
Photographs: Author's personal files.
Translation: Julie Wark.