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Francisco Morales Nieva

Prince of Asturias Award for Literature 1992

Playwright, set designer and academic, Francisco Morales Nieva (Valdepeñas, Ciudad Real, Spain, 1924 - Madrid, Spain, 2016) is one of the great names of Spanish theatre. He has received the most important drama awards, such as the "Mayte" Prize (1977) and the National Drama Award (1980). Soon after the Prince of Asturias Award was made public, Francisco Nieva was also awarded the 1992 National Literature Prize, in the drama category. He has been a numerary member of the Royal Academy of the Spanish Language since 1986.

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Francisco Morales moved to Madrid in 1941, after writing his first plays during the Civil War. In Madrid, his father, a keen enthusiast of drama and the arts, introduced him to the world of theatre. In 1942 he entered the San Fernando School of Fine Arts, and in 1953 he was awarded a scholarship by the Alliance Francais to study painting and moved to Paris, where he established contact with avant-garde theatre and with other writers and playwrights, such as Genet, Beckett, Ionesco, Fernando Arrabal and Berthold Brecht. After separating from his wife he travelled to Venice and participated on Pasolini´s first film, "Accatone". He later returned to Madrid at Adolfo Marsillach´s request, to create the set and costume designs for "Pygmalion".

During the ten years that followed, Francisco Nieva´s activities centred on the set design for some of the most important dramatic productions in Spain. At the same time, he was working on creating his own plays, which would begin to see the light during the democratic transition period. Premieres of titles such as "Sombra y quimera de Larra", and the show made up of the works "El combate de Opalos y Tasia" and "La carroza de plomo candente" earned him wide critical and popular acclaim, subsequently confirmed by the productions such as  "La señora tártara".

Nieva premiered his play "The Spanish Underground" at Expo-92. In 1993, he premiered the play Aquelarre y noche roja de Nosferatu in the Sala Olimpia in Madrid and, a year later, El manuscrito encontrado en Zaragoza. That same year, 1994, he published his first two novels, El viaje a Pantaélica and Granada de las mil noches, which were soon followed by La llama vestida de negro (1995), Oceánida (1996) and Carne de murciélago (1998). In 1997, he premiered his play Pelo de tormenta at the Teatro Nacional María Guerrero, a work he had written thirty years before. In 2005, he premiered two other unpublished plays: ¡Viva el estupor! and Los mismos.

Professor of Stagecraft at Spain’s Royal School of Dramatic Arts, he was a member of the Technical Advisory Board of the National Drama Centre when this body was created. He was awarded Spain’s Gold Medal for Fine Arts in 1996.

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