Irene Solà

Portrait Irene Solà
Irene Solà [© Oscar Holloway]

Irene Solà was born in 1990 in Malla, a small village in the province of Barcelona. She studied fine arts in Barcelona and Reykjavík and completed a master’s degree in literature, film, and visual culture at the University of Sussex.

In 2012 she published the poetry collection »Bèstia« [Eng. »Beast«, 2017], which was awarded the Premi Amadeu Oller Prize. With dark, sensual, and precise images, Irene Solà explores themes such as gender, identity, sexuality, and multiple forms of desire. In 2017, she released »Els dics« [tr: The Dikes], her first experimental novel consisting of several interwoven stories. The main character is Ada, a young woman who returns to her hometown in rural Catalonia after three years in London. The novel has been well received by critics. »El País« highlighted that »What triumphs throughout the story is the joy of narration, the joy of discovering what happens when the act of narration takes place.« »Els dics« was awarded the Premi Documenta, which has been awarded to emerging Catalonian authors since 1980.

In 2019, Irene Solà’s second novel »Canto jo i la muntanya balla« [Eng. »When I Sing, Mountains Dance«, 2022] was published. The story is set in a Catalan village in the Pyrenees; however, Solà once again dispenses with a linear narrative and experiments with time jumps between alternating narrative perspectives. Thus, the death of the young father and farmer Domènec by lightning is first described from the point of view of the thunderstorm, before his wife, his children and the villagers later have their say. The author also gives voice to animals, plants, and mountains. In lyrical prose, playfully and imaginatively fleshed out, the novel tells of the time before and after Domènec’s death, while also incorporating the history and mythology of the region. The »SZ« praised the work by stating that »This book is a true wonder. A many-voiced choral song, so full of imagination and life that one feels enveloped and enchanted while reading, as if transported to another plane of reality.«

Irene Solà has received several fellowships. In 2018 she was invited as an International Fellow to the Alan Cheuse International Writers Center at George Mason University in Virginia, USA, and in 2019 she was selected for the Art Omi: Writers program [formerly known as Ledig House] in New York. »Canto jo i la muntanya balla« was awarded the Premi Anagrama de novel·la in 2019 and the European Union Prize for Literature in 2020. The novel is currently available in more than twenty languages worldwide.

The author lives near Barcelona.

Date: 2022