The writer Antonio Gala dies at the age of 92: “Don’t bother. I know the way out”

Antony Gala He was one of the greats, a great figure: poet, playwright and writer, perhaps he was the last icon of literary success of the last century. The author of The Turkish Passion He has died at the age of 92 in the Cordoba convent where he created a foundation to promote young creators and where he was collected 15 years ago. His real name was Antonio Ángel Custodio Sergio Alejandro María de los Dolores Queen of the Martyrs of the Holy Trinity and of All Saints Gala Velasco. He was so peculiar that years ago he already wrote his epitaph: “Don’t bother. I know the way out.”

Immensely popular in the 70s, 80s and 90s, Antonio Gala was very popular in the media and certainly one of the great best sellers, in addition to seeing many of his works adapted to the cinema, and the one that premiered the most theaters.

His exquisite rhetoric showed only a fraction of his cultural torrent, and his collection of canes was well known for both the elegance with which he wielded them and the sheer number of them on display. The characteristic way of dressing or talking about him made even the most popular humorists imitate him because he was very famous to be a writer, even though he was one of the established ones.

Until fifteen years ago, the Planeta Prize decided to retire and launched a foundation with his name for young creators in a 17th-century Cordoba convent, where he said goodbye to life.

Antonio Gala has died in his Córdoba, the place where he enjoyed his adolescence and where he acquired his wonderful accent. But Gala was born in Brazatortas (Ciudad Real) in 1930. On the façade of what was his house, a plaque commemorates the writer from La Mancha.

Being very young he fell in love with the poetry of Saint John of the Cross, Garcilaso or Rilke. At the age of 15 he began a law degree at the University of Seville. After him Philosophy and Letters. He also Political Science in Madrid. And for dessert, Economics. He graduated from all four and came to start oppositions to the State Lawyers Corps.

It was a disagreement with his father that led him to renounce that ordered life and enter the Carthusian monastery of Nuestra Señora de la Defensión, making vows of poverty, silence, obedience and chastity. But one day they asked him to leave him.

Antonio Gala exhibited passions that were not liked behind the walls of the convent.

U turned to literature. He lived in Portugal, where he enjoyed love and life, and in the late 50’s he returned to Spain. Already in 1959 she won a second prize for the Adonais Prize for her first book of poems, Intimate Enemy.

He was also already writing some theater. To earn a living he worked as a professor of Art History and Philosophy until 1962, when he changed Madrid for Florence.

He also wrote for publications such as the newspaper Pueblo or Sábado Gráfico. In 1963 he premiered The green fields of Eden, the comedy starring Concha Velasco. Later would come November and a little grass (1967), Spain’s strip-tease (1970), Lost good days (1972), Rings for a lady (1973), The zithers hung from the trees (1974) and Why do you run , Ulises? (1975).

During the Transition he participated in political debates and revealed himself as a man of the left, positioning himself against Spain’s entry into NATO, against the Church or against the 23-F coup. In El País he wrote at that time his Talks with Troylo.

In the 1980s, at his summer home, La Baltasara, in Alahurín de la Torre (Málaga), now a museum house, he wrote works such as Petra regalada (1980), Samarkanda (1985), Carmen, Carmen (1988) and La truhana (1992).

With the narrative it started late but strong. With her first novel, El manuscript crimson, she won the Planeta prize in 1990. Three years later came La pasión turca, which Vicente Aranda took to the movies with Ana Belén as the protagonist and broke sales records.

Antonio Gala was a kind of Truman Capote a la Cordoba and without so much vodka in the body, although he had his excesses and his parties like those he did in Triana and in which he was about to go too far. He until he stopped and changed everything for the tranquility of his cell in the convent, where he has not stopped writing. Who knows if we will see the rest of his work when those notebooks are opened.