Maria Aurèlia Capmany was born in Barcelona, a daughter of Aureli Capmany i Farrés, a folklorist and writer for children's magazines. She studied at the Institut-Escola of the Generalitat of Catalonia and graduated from the University of Barcelona with a degree in philosophy. During the 1940s and 1950s, she worked as a teacher at the Albéniz Institute of Badalona and at the Isabel de Villena School in Barcelona. She was a versatile writer who produced novels, essays, short stories, poetry, plays song lyrics, scripts for feature and television films, translations, memoirs, and newspaper and magazine articles. Her debut novel, We Need to Die, was published in 1952, and was followed by more than a dozen others, including The Other City (1955), Betulia (1956), The Taste of Dust (1962), and A Place Among the Dead (1967). She also translated works from French, Italian, and English into the Catalan language. In 1959, she co-founded the School of Dramatic Arts Adrià Gual with Ricard Salvat, and served as a teacher, actress and headmistress. Her own plays included Questions and Answers about the Life and Death of Francesc Layret, the Lawyer of the Workers of Catalonia (1970). She was a prominent feminist and anti-fascist activist. Her essays on the role of women in society and various aspects of Catalan culture filled more than two dozen published volumes. Her memoirs included Touchstone, published in two volumes (1970-1974), Bad Memory (1987), and This Was and Was Not (1989). She was a member of the Association of Writers in the Catalan Language, and president of the Catalan PEN Club.