Montserrat Roig – plural singularity

I went to a conference a few weeks ago, at the library; “Montserrat Roig: 3 en 1″ title that attracted me on the moment. Important literary figure of her time, Roig is shining equally bright today and is still fresh, as her premise for writing was to “reflect the perspective of a certain time in history”.

In less than an hour and a half, I ended up having a portrait in pencil of a great Catalan personality, whom I’m left now to draw up myself in coal, following these thin lines. The conference was held by María Angel Cabré, writer, critic and the president of the Cultural Observatory for Gender, who gave us a master class on passion, love for arts and culture, deeper meanings and what really means making the most of what you like doing. I was so impressed at her way of speaking – she spoke for more than 1 hour without staggering and without searching for words, not even for a second-, at her complete knowledge on the subject and at her passion and her way of making us all build a lively image of the author. She presented us the most important facts in Roig’s life as a writer, journalist and feminist. From here the title… “Montserrat 3 en 1”.

As a writer, her five novels and the two collections of short stories are all impregnated by the Barcelona of her time, a place of her childhood memories, cultural movements and political struggles. She won the Víctor Català Prize for her short stories Molta roba i poc sabó, i tan neta que la volen -[A Lot of Washing and Little Soap and as Clean as They Want It] and she received the Sant Jordi Prize for her novel El temps de les cireres – [The Cherry Season]. As a journalist, she was the only one to write about the Catalans who had lived in the Nazi Camps and she published a book on the siege of Leningrad, after being invited to spend two months in Russia. She wrote in various magazines, in both Catalan and Spanish, as he coordinated and presented TV programs where she interviewed famous personalities. As a feminist, her feminist side covers all the aspects of her life, being a tireless activist and setting up the bases of some organizations meant to militate for Catalan women.

I haven’t read Montserrat Roig before and I plan to start with Digues que m’estimes encara que sigui mentida [Tell Me You Love Me Even If It’s a Lie]- considered by the critics her literary will. She says here: “The only drug that does not kill – even if it makes you end up ill – the only alcoholic flow that does not make you lose your senses and does not affect the liver, the only love that is not disgusting is the good literature. Solitary pleasure, shared vices”. It had me on the spot.



2 thoughts on “Montserrat Roig – plural singularity

  1. I am sure you will love Roig’s books. Till now I have read a couple of them and I was thrilled. It must have been during my studies of Spanish Philology (ages ago) that I went to Amsterdam and listen to Montserrat Roig talking about her books. She was terrific and such an engaging personality. When I heard about her early death, I was really shocked. Fortunately we still have her work. Happy reading!


  2. Hi Marga!!

    How lucky of you to hear her talking about her books! I’ve seen parts of the TV programs she made on YouTube and I do understand what you mean by “engaging personality”. Indeed she had it! I will keep you post it with my impressions after reading her books!


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