28 December 1874|
San Millán de la Cogolla, La Rioja, Spain
|Died||28 June 1974
Buenos Aires, Argentina
|Other names||María Martínez Sierra|
|Occupation||writer, dramatist, politician|
|Political party||Spanish Socialist Workers' Party|
|Spouse(s)||Gregorio Martínez Sierra|
María de la O Lejárraga García was born in San Millán de la Cogolla, La Rioja on 28 December 1874. In 1900 she married the writer Gregorio Martínez Sierra, with whom she collaborated as a co-author on all the plays that were publicly credited to him alone (she was the main author of the plays, but the plot was usually agreed between both). After Martínez Sierra's death she published a memoir entitled Gregorio y yo ('Gregorio and I', 1953) in which she reveals proof of the authorship.
During the 1920s and 1930s Lejarraga was active in many feminist activist groups. She became secretary of the Spanish branch of the International Woman Suffrage Alliance. When the Women's Alliance for Civic Education was formed in 1930, she was the first president. In the Spanish general election, 1933 María Lejárraga was elected to Congress as a Socialist Party representative for Granada. In mid-1933 the World Committee Against War and Fascism sent a delegation to Spain to contact women interesting in forming a local branch. Dolores Ibárruri, Encarnación Fuyola, Lucía Barón and Irene Falcón formed the National Committee of Women Against War and Fascism. María Lejárraga helped them contact Republican and Socialist women for this cause.
María Lejárraga resigned from Parliament after the harsh government action during the Asturian miners' strike of 1934. At the start of the Spanish Civil War (1936–39) she was sent to Switzerland by the Republican government as the commercial attaché. In 1938 she moved to France, then moved to New York, Los Angeles, Mexico, and finally in 1953 to Buenos Aires, Argentina where she died in poverty there in 1974.
María worked as a translator all her life - from the first translations published anonymously (Librería extranjera de Leonardo Williams, Vida Moderna, Helios) and the translations published under the name María Martínez Sierra for Garnier Publishing House in the early 1900s, to the many theatre translations published under her husband's name from 1915-1930, and the translations of prose and theatre published in her exile in Argentina (1950-1974) that helped her earn her living until her death. As she said in a letter to Maria Lacrampe in 1962: "Translating, for a writer familiar with the business, is an exquisite form of laziness. The other is reading" (Traducir, para un escritor que sabe su oficio, es una forma exquisita de pereza. La otra es leer).
- María Martínez Sierra. Ante la República: conferencias y entrevistas (1931-1932). p. 232.
- María Martínez Sierra. Gregorio y yo. p. 394.
- María Martínez Sierra. Tragedia de la perra vida. p. 621.
- Mangini González, Shirley (1995). Memories of Resistance: Women's Voices from the Spanish Civil War. Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-05816-1. Retrieved 2015-03-20.
- Martínez Sierra, María (1953). Gregorio y yo: medio siglo de colaboración. Mexico: Gandesa.
- O'Connor, Patricia Walker (1977). Gregorio and María Martínez Sierra. Boston, MA: Twayne Publishers.
- Rodrigo, Antonina (2014-12-17). Mujeres para la historia (in Spanish). Carena. ISBN 978-84-96357-29-7. Retrieved 2015-03-20.
- Aguilera Sastre, Juan (2012). María Martínez Sierra, traductora: una lectura de teatro contemporáneo. ALEC 37, no. 2.