Laia Malo

- Spain -

Laia Martinez i Lopez, also known as Laia Malo, was born in Berga, in the Catalan pre-Pyrenees, in 1984. Her family soon moved to Navàs, a smaller village near the mountains of Montserrat, where she read, wrote, took piano and music lessons, and felt the urge to share an otherwise lonesome experience. During her last year in high school, she was awarded by the Council of Central Catalonia for “Best Final Project in English”, for an essay arguing why the Harry Potter's books were to become best-selling literature for readers of all ages. She then received a grant to study at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, where she graduated in English and Russian Translation (2007). However, before uni, Malo took a gap year in London, where she worked as an au-pair and got her Proficiency degree in English. This was 2001/2002, and in North London she first met a group of fellow artists, the 'Stroud Green Liberation Army', who would organize open mics, jam sessions, exhibitions and all kinds of performances and community action.


Since then, Malo has been researching and playing with her main interest in the interactions and boundaries between the arts, the particularities of spoken Catalan and the power of the human voice as a transformation tool. Her output explores the constant metamorphoses in our perception of both the seen and the unseen, sound and silence.


She has published 6 books of poems: L'abc de Laia Martinez i Lopez (Documenta Balear, 2009), L'estiu del tonight, tonight ('Art Jove' Poetry Prize. El Gall Ed., 2011), Cançó amb esgarrip i dos poemes (Lleonard Muntaner Ed., 2015), Afollada (Labreu, 2016), Venus volta (Lleonard Muntaner Ed., 2018) and versets i cigarrets (Ed. Universitat de Lleida, 2021); her work appears in national and international anthologies, and her selected works have been published in Portugal under the title Uma alienigena na varanda (Texto sentido, 2022). As a translator, Malo has coedited and delivered from Russian: Dels troncs d'oliveres velles, by Max Voloshin, and a selection of Siberian poets, 7.516 Km; and she was awarded the translation grant 'Ciutat de Tarragona Vidal Alcover' 2021 to finish her versions of Marina Tsvetaeva. From English, she has published the translations of Patti Smith's Auguries of innocence and Djuna Barnes' Nightwood.


In 2009, Malo met musician and environmentalist Jaume Reus, with whom she founded the electronic duo Jansky. They defined their style as “electroverse”. They have published four studio albums and lined-up for national and international festivals. In 2018, they received the SUNS Europe Award to "Best band in a minorized language", and in 2020, a Sound of The Year Award (BBC3/Museum of Sound) to “Best Studio Sound”. Their latest project, Insecta Dance Music, is based on insect sounds from Mallorca, and incorporates the art-science approach to Malo's already eclectic output.


Malo has participated in most poetry festivals in Catalonia, and in international festivals such as Festa da Poesia (Matoshinos, Portugal), Marché de la Poesie (Paris), Poesia ne'll Parque (Cinqueterre, Italy), European Poetry Festival (London) and Poetas (Madrid). She lives in Palma, where she writes for Ara Balears newspaper, and curates a weekly podcast combing recitation and music in the cultural programme Els Entusiastes, on the regional radio IB3. She is a board member of the Catalan Writers' Association (AELC).

Antònia Vicens (a l'epíleg d'Afollada): "Amb la punta dels versos, Laia Malo va directe als teus ulls. És una poeta potent que fa el que li ve de gust amb les paraules. Les muny, les modela, en fa sexes, estrelles, orenetes."


Sebastià Alzamora (Diari Ara Balears, 27/05/2017): Dels seus poemes, de la seva música i de la seva conversa se’n desprèn una pregunta fonamental, i és per què anar cap enrere si es pot anar cap endavant. En la literatura, en la música i en la vida. És una bona pregunta, en uns temps en què les forces retrògrades i reaccionàries estiren més que mai per fer-nos tornar a tots a la foscor abans de les llibertats i els drets fonamentals.


Antònia Vicens (Afollada's epilogue): "With the tip of the verses, Laia Malo goes straight to your eyes. She is a powerful poet who does what she likes with words. She milks them, models them, she makes sexes, stars, swallows”.


Sebastià Alzamora (Ara Balears newspaper, 27/05/2017): A fundamental question emerges from his poems, his music and his conversation, and it is why go backwards if you can go forwards?. In literature, music and life. It is a good question, in a time when retrograde and reactionary forces are stretching more than ever to bring us all back to darkness before to fundamental freedoms and rights”.