Euskadi Literature Prizes awarded

Euskara. Kultura. Mundura.


The seven award-winners of this year´s Euskadi Literature Prizes (Premios Euskadi de Literatura) will be given their awards this Thursday, 24 November. The winners in the categories of ‘Literature in Basque’, ‘Literature in Spanish’, ‘Literature for Children and Young People in Basque’, ‘Literary Translation in Basque’, ‘Illustration of a Literary Work’, ‘Essay in Basque’, and ‘Essay in Spanish’ will gather at Donostia’s Tabakalera building for the event.

Every year, the Euskadi Literature Prizes, organised by the Basque Government´s Department of Culture and Language Policy, recognise the most outstanding works of Basque literature. The awards are designed to encourage our creative talent and inspire writers to continue to develop their voices. They are also meant to bring greater visibility to our authors and inspire a passion for reading among the public.

Uxue Apaolaza, Leire Bilbao and Maite Mutuberria will receive awards in three categories: ‘Literature in Basque’, ‘Literature for Children and Young People in Basque’ and ‘Illustration of a Literary Work’ for their respectively works ´Kuruneko nasa´, ´Barnesak´ and ´Irrimola´.

Edurne Portela (Los ojos cerrados), Koro Navarro (Fiesta, eguzkia jaikitzen da), Irati Jiménez (Begiak zabalduko zaizkizue) and Teresa Maldonado (Hablemos claro) won awards in the categories of ‘Literature in Spanish’, ‘Literary Translation in Basque’, ‘Essays in Basque’ and ‘Essays in Spanish’.

Thoughts and impressions

Lourdes Otaegi, Ane Labaka, Jon Martin, Yurre Ugarte and Josu Jiménez made up the jury for the ‘Literature in Basque’ category. The jury praised Uxue Apaolaza’s ‘Bihurguneko nasa’, saying: "It is a rich reflection on identity and ‘otherness’, written in muscular prose that is a pleasure to read. The precision of the author’s literary craftsmanship gives it a certain crudeness, free of all explanation and digression. The language fits the content beautifully in an intense dynamic where the reader will perceive the protagonist’s awakening as she delves into the intricacies of the details.”

The five-member jury for ‘Literature for Children and Young People in Basque’ was composed of Manuel López, Larraitz Idarreta, Karla Fernández de Gamboa, Ziortza Onaindia and Patxi Zubizarreta. “Leire Bilbao’s ‘Barruko hotsak’ is a visual poem, full of rhymes and rhythms, which reinvents the genre of calligram. The perplexity provoked by the unexpected fusion of text, typographic games and images offers readers diverse interpretations,” the jury commented, adding that “it is a book to read with the ears and listen with the eyes, fun and full of exquisite humour. The excellent composition, layout and illustration also stand out.” The illustrations are the work of award-winning illustrator Maite Mutuberria.

This year Maite Mutuberria won the Euskadi Literature Prize for the best Illustration of a Literary Work for her work ‘Irrimola’. In the words of the jury – Javier de Isusi, María Altuna, Jon Mantzisidor, Yolanda Mosquera and Miren – Mutuberria takes the concept of illustrated album “to another dimension, a book-object designed in a circular format whose composition allows experimentation and play. There is an elaborate concept behind the illustrations which, together with an effective use of graphic resources, enhances the different layers and ways of reading. In addition, the planning of the images takes advantage of the repetition of the circular geometry, evoking other references such as the planisphere or the zoetrope, and makes reading and rereading an endless pleasure that renders the book inexhaustible.”

More awards

Edurne Portela, Koro Navarro, Irati Jimenez and Teresa Maldonado were awarded the Euskadi  Literature Prize for Literature in Spanish, Literary Translation in Basque, Essay in Basque, and Essay in Spanish, respectively, for ‘Los ojos cerrados’ (Galaxia Gutenberg), ‘Fiesta Eguzkia jaikitzen da’ (Ernest Hemingway) (Erein&Igela), ‘Begiak zabalduko zaizkizue’ (Elkar) and ‘Hablemos claro’ (Catarata).

The jury, whose members were Alexander Gurrutxaga, Ane Miren Larrinaga, Aitor Zuberogoitia, Katixa Agirre and Xabier Aierdi, decided that the Euskadi Literature Prize for best Essay in Basque should go to Irati Jiménez for ‘Begiak zabalduko zaizkizue’. “Jiménez´s exercise of constantly questioning readers and challenging them to think” stood out for the jury, who added: “The tone of the book conveys passion and love for literature written in an elaborate and personal style."

The jury for the category of Literary Translation into Basque considered that Koro Navarro, in terms of the great literary value of the book, "has taken the appropriate decisions so as not to lose the strength and vitality of the original text, making use of the resources of the Basque language". The jury was made up of Aintzane Ibarzabal, Idoia Gillenea and Idoia Santamaria.

According to this year’s jury for the Euskadi Literature Prize in Spanish, composed of Txani Rodríguez, Javier Maura, Aixa de la Cruz, Jesús Camarero and Patricia Millán, Edurne Portela´s novel Los ojos cerrados creates an "enriching play of perspectives from which the tension between the told and the untold emerges and establishes a dialogue between the present and the past to reflect on guilt and forgiveness".

Lastly, the jury for the category Essay in Spanish, comprising Mikel Reparaz, Iñigo Marauri, Maria Jesús Pando, Ainhoa Novo and Javier Camarra, felt that Teresa Maldonado had a particularly concise and clear style and that she was “capable of tackling a complex and controversial subject in a precise, simple yet nuanced way".


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