Joan Agut (Barcelona, 1934 - Caldes de Montbui, 2011) is the son of shopkeepers. At thirteen years of age he was expelled from school and went to work as a fishmonger at the Hostafrancs market. This future writer, publisher and literary critic then went to live in Paris in 1959 in the hope of enjoying an artist’s existence, as his much-admired Ernest Hemingway and Henry Miller had done before him. Two years later he returned to Barcelona and opened a bookshop. These early contacts with the world of books constituted his first steps towards one of his subsequent professions, that of publisher.
In different stages and for more than 35 years, he worked as a publisher in Barcelona – in the publishing house of Bruguera (where he was the driving force behind a line of books that would be published in Catalan) and Edhasa. He was also one of the founders of Barcanova and subsequently, this time as one of the owners, of Thassàlia. He was the chief executive of the newspaper El Correo Catalán and a member of the anti-Franco resistance movement Front Nacional de Catalunya (National Front of Catalonia).
In 1997 he initiated a new phase in his concerns with the world of books, this time as a writer. After a first book of short stories, he published novels like Gombó i Mister Belvedere (Gombó and Mister Belvedere), which was a finalist for the 2000 Sant Jordi Prize, El mestre de Taüll (The Master of Taüll), which won the 2001 Crexells Prize for Best Novel of the Year, L'arbre de la memòria (The Tree of Memory), which was awarded the 2001 Pin i Soler Prize, Pastís de noces (Wedding Cake) received the 2003 Carlemany Prize and has been highly praised by critics and readers alike.
He is also a notable literary critic, most of his work in this sphere being published in the newspaper Avui since 1977.
He was a member of AELC (Association of Catalan Language Writers).
Web page: Xulio Ricardo Trigo.
Photographs: AELC archive.
Translation: Julie Wark.