A graduate in law, philosophy, politics and economics, he has written in a wide variety of genres, including journalism, short stories, essays and television scripts. He has been awarded several prizes, not only within the field of poetry but also for his contributions to theatre and opera.
Gala's work has been more appreciated by his readership than by the critics, who find it hard to classify it due to its particular blend of lyricism and epic.
Among his most successful plays are Los verdes campos del Edén (The Green Fields of Eden, National Theatre Prize "Calderón de la Barca" 1963), Anillos para una dama (Rings for a Lady, 1973), ¿Por qué corres, Ulises? (Why do you run, Ulysses?, 1975), Petra Regalada (1980), Samarkanda (1985), Carmen, Carmen (1988) and La truhana (The rogue, 1992).
Among his collections of poetry are Sonetos de La Zubia (La Zubia Sonets), Poemas de amor (Love Poems), Testamento Andaluz (Andalusian Will) and Enemigo íntimo (Intimate Enemy, Adonais Prize 1959).
He started to write novels late in life, but he obtained an overwhelming success with El manuscrito carmesí (The Crimson Manuscript, Planeta Prize 1990), Águila Bicéfala (Two-Headed Eagle, 1994), La regla de tres (The Rule of Three, 1996) and La pasión turca (Turkish Passion, 1993), adapted for the cinema by Spanish director Vicente Aranda and Más allá del Jardín (Beyond the Garden, 1995), adapted by Pedro Olea.
Gala's literature is marked by historic issues, which are used more to lighten the present than to deepen in the past.
He is the current president of the International Theatre Institute.