Mercé Rodoreda i Gurguí was born on 10 October 1908 in Barcelona. She is the most translated author from Catalan into any other language, and her novel La plaça del Diamant (In Diamond Square) is one of the most celebrated novels of the Spanish Civil War. 

Rodoreda grew up in the Eixample area of Barcelona. In 1928 she married her uncle, Joan Gurguí Guàrdia and they had one child together, Jordi. After the birth of her son, Rodoreda began to work as a writer, and in 1932 her first novel, Sóc una dona honrada? (Am I an Honest Woman?) was published. Rodoreda also wrote articles and short stories for magazines, such as the publications Clarisme, Mirador, and La Revista, and formed part of a circle of Catalan writers. From 1937 onwards she worked for the Generalitat de Catalunya in the Ministry of Information. 

Merce Rodoreda
1997 photo by Vilallonga of a portrait of Mercè Rodoreda Rodoreda owned by the photographer's family (via Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 2.5)

On 23 January 1939 Mercè Rodoreda, along with other Catalan writers and intellectuals, leaves Barcelona and goes into exile shortly before the end of the Spanish Civil War. At first they settle in Roissy-en-Brie in France, and Rodoreda is accompanied by Anna Murià, Armand Obiols, Francesc Trabal and Carles Riba, amongst others. Following the outbreak of the Second World War, the group separated and Rodoreda moves with Armand Obiols to Limoges and then Bordeaux. During this time Rodoreda continues to write in Catalan and enters works of poetry to the Jocs Florals competition; she also begins to paint. 

Rodoreda and Obiols, who were now in a relationship, move to Geneva in 1954. Rodoreda’s collection of stories entitled Vint-i-dos contes (Twenty-Two Short Stories), written in exile, is awarded the Victor Català Prize. In 1962, La plaça del Diamant was published by Club dels Novel·listes. The work had previously been submitted for the Sant Jordi Prize, but did not win. The novel was translated into Spanish in 1965, and into English in 1967. In 1966, her novel El carrer de les Camèlies is published, and this time she wins the Sant Jordi Prize. Rodoreda continues to write, and her works Jardi vora el mar (Garden by the Sea) and La meva Cristina i altres contes (My Cristina and Other Stories) are also published in this decade. 

Rodoreda returns to Catalonia in 1972, living in Romanyà de la Selva. Her novel Mirall trencat (A Broken Mirror) is published in 1974 and Quanta, quanta guerra (War, So Much War) is published in 1980. Her further collections of short stories, Semblava de seda (It Seemed like Silk) and Viatges i flors are also published in the same year. La plaça del Diamant was adapted into a film by Francesc Betriu in 1982. 

On 13 April 1983, at the age of 74, Mercè Rodoreda died in Girona. Her novel, La mort i la primavera (Death in Spring) was published posthumously in 1986. A foundation in her name was set up in 1991, and in 1998 the Mercè Rodoreda Prize for literature and short stories was established. To date, her work has been translated into over 30 languages and she is considered a leading figure in Catalan literature. 

Compiled by Daisy Towers (Leeds)



Sóc una dona honrada? (Barcelona, Llibreria Catalònia, 1932)

Del que hom no pot fugir (Barcelona: Clarisme, 1934)

Un dia de la vida d'un home (Badalona: Proa, 1934)

Crim (Barcelona: Edicions de la Rosa dels Vents, 1936)

Aloma (Barcelona: Institució de les Lletres Catalanes, 1938; 2nd revised edition: Barcelona: Edicions 62, 1969)

La plaça del Diamant (Barcelona: Club Editor, 1962) 

El Carrer de les Camèlies (Barcelona: Club Editor, 1966)

Jardí vora el mar (Barcelona: Club Editor, 1967) 

Mirall trencat (Barcelona: Club Editor, 1974) 

Quanta, quanta guerra... (Barcelona: Club Editor, 1980) 

La mort i la primavera [A cura de Núria Folch] (Barcelona: Club Editor, 1986)

La mort i la primavera [A cura de Carme Arnau] (Barcelona: Institut d'Estudis Catalans/Fundació Mercè Rodoreda, 1997)

Isabel i Maria. Edició a cura de Carme Arnau (València: Edicions 3 i 4, 1991)

Short Stories

Vint-i-dos contes (Barcelona: Selecta, 1958)

La meva Cristina i altres contes (Barcelona: Edicions 62, 1967)

Semblava de seda i altres contes (Barcelona: Edicions 62, 1978)

Tots els contes (Barcelona: Edicions 62, 1979)

Viatges i flors (Barcelona: Edicions 62, 1980)

Una campana de vidre: antologia de contes [ed. by Carme Arnau] (Barcelona: Destino: Edicions 62, 1984)

Un cafè i altres narracions  [ed. by Carme Arnau] (Barcelona: Institut d'Estudis Catalans/Fundació Mercè Rodoreda, 1999)

Translations into Foreign Languages


The Pigeon Girl [Translation of La plaça del Diamant by Eda O’Shiel] (London: André Deutsch, 1967)

The Time of the Doves [Translation of La plaça del Diamant by David H. Rosenthal] (New York: Taplinger, 1981)

My Christina and Other Stories [Translation of La meva Cristina i altres contes by David H. Rosenthal] (Washington: Graywolf, 1984)

Camellia Street [Translation of El Carrer de les Camèlies by David H. Rosenthal] (Saint Paul: Graywolf, 1993)

A Broken Mirror [Translation of Mirall trencat by Miquel Sobre] (Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press, 2006) 

Death In Spring [Translation of La Mort i la primavera by Martha Tennent] (Rochester (New York): Open Letter, 2009)

The Selected Stories of Mercè Rodoreda [Translated from the Catalan by Martha Tennent] (Rochester (New York): Open Letter, 2011)

In Diamond Square [Translation of La plaça del Diamant by Peter Bush] (London: Virago, 2013)

War, So Much War [Translation of Quanta, quanta guerra by Maruxa Relaño and Martha Tennent] (Rochester: Open Letter, 2015)


Arnau, C: Introducció A La Narrativa De Mercè Rodoreda: El Mite de la Infantesa (Barcelona: Edicions 62, 1989) 

—: Mercè Rodoreda (Barcelona: Columna, 1996) 

Bergmann, E: (1987) ‘Flowers at the North Pole: Mercè Rodoreda and the Female Imagination in Exile’, (Catalan Review, 2(2), 1987, pp. 83-99) 

Buffery, H. and Lonsdale, L.: ‘18 Invisible Catalan(e)s: Catalan Women Writers and the Contested Space of Home’ in  A Companion to Spanish Women's Studies ed. by Xon de Ros and Geraldine Hazbun (Rochester, N.Y.: Tamesis, 2011)

Buffery, H.: 'Traumatic Translations of La plaça del Diamant: On the Transmission and Translatability of Cultural Trauma' in Funcions del passat en la cultura catalana contemporània. Institucionalització, representacions i identitat ed. by J.- A. Fernàndez and J.  Subirana (Lleida: Editorial Punctum, 2015, pp. 197-217)

Bush, P: ‘Memory, War and Translation: Mercè Rodoreda’s In Diamond Square’ in Perspectives on Literature and Translation: Creation, Circulation, Reception ed. by Brian Nelson and Brigid Maher (Abingdon: Routledge, 2013, pp.31-47)

Carbonell, N: La Plaça del Diamant de Mercè Rodoreda (Barcelona, Editorial Empúries, 1994)

Epps, B: ‘Solitude in the City: Víctor Català with Mercè Rodoreda’ in Women's Narrative and Film in 20th-Century Spain ed. by Kathleen Glenn (New York: Routledge, 2002, pp. 19- 39)

Everly, K: Catalan Women Writers and Artists: Revisionist Views from a Feminist Space (London: Associated University Presses, 2003) 

—:  ‘Masculinity, War, and Marriage in "La Plaça Del Diamant" by Mercè Rodoreda’ (Anales de la literatura española contemporánea, 31(1), 2012, pp.63-84)

García Márquez, G: ‘¿Sabe Usted Quién Era Mercè Rodoreda?’ (El País,17 May 1983) available online at 

Keown, D: ‘No Time for the Doves? Intrusion and Redrafting in the English Translation of La Plaça del Diamant’ (Modern Language Review, 100(3), 2005, pp.659-72) 

Marín-Dòmine, M: ‘At First Sight: Paratextual Elements in the English Translations of La plaça del Diamant’ (Cadernos de Tradução, 1(11), 2003, pp. 127-40) available online at 

Mencos, M.I.: ‘Mercè Rodoreda and the Criticism of Her Work: Analysis and Selected Bibliography’ in Voices and Visions: The Words and Works of Mercè Rodoreda ed. by Kathleen McNerney (London: Associated University Presses, 1999, pp. 240-49) 

—:  Mercè Rodoreda: A Selected and Annotated Bibliography (1963-2001) (Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 2004)

Miguélez-Carballeira, H: ‘Language and Characterization in Mercè Rodoreda’s La Plaça del Diamant: Towards a Third Translation into English’ (The Translator, 9(1), 2003, pp.101-24)

Ugarte, M: ‘Working at a Discount: Class Consciousness in Mercè Rodoreda’s La plaça del Diamant’ (Modern Language Notes, 114, 1999, pp. 297-314)

Wyers, F. ‘A Woman's Voices: Mercè Rodoreda's La Plaça Del Diamant’ (Kentucky Romance Quarterly, 30(3), 1983, pp. 301-09)

Interviews/in the Media

Courtesy of Fundació Mercé Rodoreda

Alcalde, Carmen: ‘La Noia de las camelias: entrevista con Mercè Rodoreda’ (Cuadernos para el diálogo, 157 (1976), p. 61)

Cruset, José: ‘Mercè Rodoreda: una contenida tensión confidencial’ (La Vanguardia, 18-12-1969)

Del Arco, Manuel: ‘Mercè Rodoreda’ (La Vanguardia, 16-12-1966)

Font, Joan: ‘Mercè Rodoreda: novel·lista universal' (Punt diari, 18-8-1979)

Gómez, José Martí: ‘Mercè Rodoreda, amnésica parcial’ (El Correo catalán, 16-7-1969)

Pons, Agustí: ‘Mercè Rodoreda: setanta anys de vitalitat creadora’  (Avui, 10-10-1979)

Porcel, Baltasar: ‘Mercè Rodoreda o la força lírica.’ Serra d'Or (VIII: 3, 1966, p. 71 [231] - 75 [235]). Reprinted in Grans catalans d'ara (Barcelona: Destino, 1972, p. 48-[257]); Obres completes: VI (Barcelona: Proa, 1994, pp. 256-65)

Roig, Montserrat: ‘El Aliento poético de Mercè Rodoreda’ (Triunfo, 22-11-1973, pp. 35-39)

Saladrigas, Robert: ‘Monólogo con Mercè Rodoreda' (Destino, 25-8-1973, p. 20-21)

Sales-Balmes, Lluís: ‘Conversación con Mercè Rodoreda’ (Destino, 7-5-1966, p. 58)

Soler, Marc: ‘Mercè Rodoreda: 70 anys de rigor’ (Tele-exprés, 10-10-1979)