Carme Riera , narrator, scriptwriter and literary academic, was born in Palma de Mallorca in 1948 where, by the age of twelve, she had already made her first literary attempts at writing. Through the encouragement of her teacher, Aina Moll, Carme Riera began to write in her Catalonian mother tongue.
Until 1968 she studied Spanish Literature at the ‘Universidad Autónoma’ in Barcelona and so started her work as literary academic. Six years later, in 1974, her first narrative volume, ‘Te deix, amor, la mar com a penyora’ came out for which she was awarded the ‘Puig i Llens Prize’ in 1975. A further short story collection followed, ‘Jo pos per testimoni les gavines’ (1977) and a first novel, ‘Una primavera per a Domenico Guarini’ for which she was awarded the ‘Prudenci Bertrana Prize’ in 1980. With ‘Epitelis tendríssims’ her first erotic texts appeared one year later.
Carme Riera’s up until then biggest success was ‘Dins el darrer blau’ which was first published in 1994. The novel was awarded several prizes, including the highest Spanish literary prize, ‘Premio Nacional de Narrativa’. It was translated into many languages including Castilian, German, English, Dutch and Russian. With ‘Dins el darrer blau’, the author leads the reader into a small Majorcan village during the late 17th century. A group of secretly practising Jews are in danger of being denunciated and being sentenced by the Inquisition. For this reason it is decided to leave the island and to emigrate to distant America. Because of a thunderstorm, the plan fails at the last minute and those fleeing fall into the hands of their persecutors. With a remarkable feel for the baroque language of the period and through historical detail supported by detailed archive studies, Carme Riera uncovers in this novel the background to the ‘auto-da-fés’.
Her last book ‘Cap al cel obert’ was published in 2000 and was awarded the ‘Crítica Serra D’Or’. The novel is set in the Havana of 1850 and tells the story of Maria, who comes from Mallorca and who, quite by chance, enters the dazzling world of the Cuban upper classes. Taking the place of her sister who didn’t survive the long journey, she marries a rich plantation owner. Amongst tobacco millionaires and sugar barons, the heroine at first only gets to know the advantages of wealth. Soon, however, the security is exposed as being only apparent and finally, the Jewish roots of the young Majorcan lead to her downfall. Her latest novel ‘La meitad de l’ánima’ deals with a social intrigue in Spain after the war.
Carme Riera lives and works in Barcelona where she lectures as Professor for Spanish literature of the 20th century at the ‘Universidad Autónoma’. To her literary academic work belong studies on the poetic works of José Agustín Goytisolo and Carlos Barral.
© international literature festival berlin