Josep Maria Cruzet (Barcelona 1903-1962) partnered with Manuel Borràs de Quadras and Antoni López i Llausàs to found the Llibreria Catalònia bookshop and the publishing house of the same name. After the war, in 1943, having renamed the shop the Casa del Libro, he secured the rights to publish the complete works of Verdaguer. This was the start of Editorial Selecta, the first Catalan-language publishing house during the post-war years, which sought to make classic, contemporary, local and foreign authors accessible to Catalan readers.
He was one of the people behind the launch of the Festa de les Lletres Catalanes (Festival of Catalan Literature) on the 13th of December, the Diada de Santa Llúcia holiday, which was held for the first time in 1951. With this festival, Cruzet strove to revive literature in Catalan by awarding a variety of literary prizes for different genres, which are still awarded today. From this festival, noteworthy prizes included the Joanot Martorell Novel Prize, the Óssa Menor Poetry Prize and the Víctor Català Fiction Prize. Other initiatives to promote Catalan literature included the publications of periodic newsletters and literary presentations at the Llibreria Catalònia.
In addition, Cruzet played a prominent role in creating the Biblioteca Biogràfica Catalana in 1950 and the Enciclopèdia Catalana in 1955. He also founded the Aedos publishing house to complement Selecta, and helped to publish the complete works of Josep Pla until his untimely death. His work was subsequently carried on by his wife, who was particularly dedicated to Aedos’ activity.
Josep Maria Cruzet collection at the Biblioteca de Catalunya