Quebec opens a window on Basque literature

Euskara. Kultura. Mundura.

2021-10-06

A few events that revolve around literature are about to start in Quebec. Université Laval will host a conference on literature and linguistic diversity and the Québec en toutes lettres festival will devote an evening to Basque literature.

Université Laval, Etxepare Basque Institute, PEN Club of Quebec and Euskal PEN Kluba (Basque PEN Club) have organised ´La voix des autres-Besteen ahotsa. Multilingualism and literature: Basque Country and Quebec’, for October 13 and 14. The event will be held online due to pandemic-related restrictions and will feature daily presentations with roundtable discussions at the end of each lecture. The lectures proposed by the conference will identify the traits shared by these literary creations, addressing topics such as multilingual environments with minority languages, francophone-Québécois literature, literature of cultural minorities and literary production in the Basque Country, Quebec and North America, among others.

On the other hand, the acclaimed Québec en toutes lettres festival, which runs from 14 to 24 October, will dedicate an evening to Basque literature. The event, entitled ´Soirée découverte Accent basque´ will take place on 16 October at 7pm at the Musée de la Civilisation in Quebec City.

There will be a round table on Basque literature with writers Itxaro Borda and Kirmen Uribe, and Irene Larraza, Director of the Etxepare Basque Institute. Writer and translator Mélissa Verrault will lead the panel.

In addition, the new edition of the ’Chekhov vs. Shakespeare’ project will be presented, featuring the Basque writer Aurelia Arkotxa and the Quebecois writer Jean Désy. For a year, they have exchanged correspondence and reflected on various topics such as acculturation, colonialism, cultural diversity and the Covid-19 pandemic. The result is a book published in Basque, Spanish, French and English, which Désy and Arkotxa themselves will present at the festival. Some passages from the book will also be read at the event, to the music of Trio Zukan.

To round off the Québec en toutes lettres festival, Itxaro Borda will take part in Poetry Night, an event not to be missed on the Quebec literary scene, where she will share the stage with a number of renowned and up-and-coming voices.

Itzultzaile Berriak (New Translators)

Also presented at Tabakalera was the ´Itzultzaile berriak´ (New Translators) project, aimed at training international translators of literature in Basque and building bridges between international and local translators. Under the direction of EIZIE (Association of translators of Basque language) member Aiora Jaka, Quebec translators Yannick Bédard and Michel Usereau are translating the following texts: ´Abian´ and ´Ederra eta piztia´ by Garazi Arrula; ´Oreina´ and ´Ezertan lagun diezazuket?´ by Uxue Alberdi; and ´Arrokarik altuena´ and ´Safaria´ by Harkaitz Cano.

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