Basque literary awards – Premios de Literatura Euskadi

Literary prizes endowed with 18,000 EUR each and awarded by the regional government of the Basque Country:

Bernardo Atxaga (Asteasu, Gipuzkoa, 1951; Wikipedia), Nevadako egunak (Días de Nevada [Nevada days]) – best book written in Basque, a mixture of biography, fiction and dreamlike stories about his visit to the United States.

The publisher’s summary:

«I also wanted to enter the real world, and for a moment I managed to. The two wild horses that stood before the Chevrolet Avalanche started to turn around as if in a carousel, and with them Cornélie’s [horse], Franquito’s black horse and other horses that were part of my past. I thought –only for a moment, as I have said– that this was the image of my life, and that it would be easy for me to put next to the horses, or instead of them, human creatures: the woman who read Reader’s Digest, the man in hospital who felt like a caged monkey, José Francisco, Didi, Adrián, L., and myself, Ángela, Izaskun, Sara… One round, two rounds, three, four, and so on until the carousel would stop. But where was the center? Where the axis around which all revolved?» This is the story of a writer who travels to Nevada between August 2007 and June 2008, but it is also a lot more. It is a tale in which the lived, the real instant, mixes with memories, images, dreams and evocations. In which the dry and hostile desert and the green, red and pink horizon of Reno’s casinos, with their brilliant and crystal lights, lead the narrator –and the reader– again and again to this more intimate and more personal landscape of the Basque Country. Días de Nevada is a story made of stories, like a Chinese box, that shows us how every experience we live, every link created between people beyond temporary and spatial distances, every emotion that impacts us, every menace that we fight remains indelible. And converts us into what we are.

Idoia Estornés Zubizarreta (Santiago de Chile, 1940), Cómo pudo pasarnos esto [How this could happen to us] – best Basque book written in Spanish; “a general chronicle of Basque culture during the last half-century,” according to the jury.

Iñigo Roque Eguzkitza (Portugalete, Biscay, 1976), best translation into the Basque language of António Lobo Antunes’ A ordem natural das coisas (Gauzen orden naturala [The Natural Order of Things; 1992]); according to the jury, “he masterly managed to adapt a convoluted text with formal difficulties by employing the liberties and risks one has to assume.”

A bookseller’s summary:

The Natural Order of Things forms, together with Tratado das Paixões da Alma [Treatise on the Soul’s Passions; 1990] and Morte de Carlos Gardel [Death of Carlos Gardel; 1994], a triptych of the physical and urban landscape of the Benfica neighborhood during the author’s childhood and adolescence, in the family home, the mythical and sometimes traumatic time of infancy. Lobo Antunes’ fictional language reaches in this book a poetic engagement that he kept then in his most fortunate moment of creation.

Amazon.com has got clearer information on the Lobo Antunes title.

SOURCES: El País, Oct. 8, 2014; Alfaguara; Livraria Almedina

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