Bernardo Atxaga

(Asteasu, Basque Country, 1951)

Bernardo Atxaga is the pen name of Joseba Irazu Garmendia who was born in Asteasu, Guipúzcoa, in 1951. After obtaining a degree in Economics at the University of Bilbao, he worked as a Basque (Euskera) language teacher, a radio scriptwriter, a bookshop owner, and economist before starting to write full-time. No other Basque writer has ever been so widely translated or won so many awards. His works are a reference in any discussion about the expressiveness and robustness of Euskera as a literary language. Notable among them are Obabakoak, (1989, winner of the Euskadi Prize and the National Prize for Fiction – published in English with the same title), El hijo del acordeonista (2004, winner of the Grinzane Cavour Prize, Mondello Prize, and the Times Literary Supplement Translation Prize – in English, The Accordionist’s Son), Siete casas en Francia (2009 – in English, Seven Houses in France), and Días de Nevada (2013 – in English, Nevada Days). His work has been translated into 32 languages and has also appeared as films by the directors Montxo Armendariz (Obaba, 2005), Aizpea Goenaga (Zeru horiek, 2006), and Imanol Rayo (Bi anai, 2011). He is a member of the Euskaltzaindia (Royal Academy of the Basque Language) and editor-in-chief of the magazine Erlea.

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