Carme Balcells i Segalà was born in Les Olugues, in La Segarra, in 1930. In 1955, when she had been living in Barcelona for several years, she met Joan Ferraté, Gabriel Ferrater, Jaime Gil de Biedma, Carlos Barral and Josep M. Castellet, among others, and began to work at the ACER literary agency owned by Vintila Hòria. Later she moved to Paris and created her own agency: Agència Literària Carmen Balcells. She began to manage the translation rights of Seix Barral, and in 1991 she created RBA Edicions, which initially focused on kiosk publications and magazines, although it became a fully-fledged publishing house in 1998.
In recognition of her work as a literary agent and “discoverer” of Latin American writers like Gabriel García Márquez, Mario Vargas Llosa, Isabel Allende, Pablo Neruda and Adolfo Bioy Casares, along with Spanish writers like Vicente Aleixandre, Camilo José Cela, Ana María Matute and Manuel Vázquez Montalbán, many authors have dedicated works to her or have turned her into a character in her novels. She has been recognised for her efforts to defend the rights of authors.
She has received numerous prizes and distinctions, such as the Medal of Honour of Barcelona, an honorary doctoral degree from the Autonomous University of Barcelona and the Creu de Sant Jordi (Saint George’s Cross).
The documentation conserved in the Biblioteca de Catalunya may be of interest to scholars of Salvador de Madariaga. Recently The Spanish Ministry of Culture, Education and Sport has purchased much of its archives and documentation.