Josep Maria Benet i Jornet (Barcelona, 1940), one of Catalonia’s best known playwrights, is deemed to be a major renovating influence in Catalan theatre. In 1963, when he was only twenty-three years old, he made his debut with Una vella, coneguda olor (An Old Familiar Smell – winner of the prestigious Josep Maria de Sagarra Prize), a path-breaking play at the time because of its realist tone which brought theatre closer to the real-world situation of Barcelona. Since then he has written more than forty plays which, translated into some twelve languages, express the everyday concerns of Catalan society. His highly successful works E.R and Testament have been adapted and made into feature-length films by Ventura Pons. He has also scripted some of the most famous series shown on Catalan television, including Poble Nou, Nissaga de Poder (Lineage of Power) and Ventdelplà. Tribute has been paid to his work in the form of numerous prizes, among them the National Theatre Prize (1995), the Creu de Sant Jordi (St. George Cross, 1997), Institute of Catalan Letters Prize for Audiovisual Screenplays (1998), the Max Award of Honour (2010) and the Catalan Letters Award of Honour (2010).
In 2010 he published his memoirs with the title Material d’enderroc (Demolition Material
, Edicions 62).
[Update: 14 January 2014]