Bernado Atxaga (Jose Irazu) was born in Asteasu, Gipuzkoa, in 1951, and belongs to the group of Basque writers who began publishing in their mother tongue, Euskera, in the 1970s. He graduated in economics from the University of the Basque Country and later studied philosophy at Barcelona University.
His first short story, Ziutateaz, was published in 1976 and his first poetry collection, Etiopia, in 1978. Both works received the Spanish Critics' Prize for the best works in their categories in the Basque language. He writes in most genres: poetry, short stories, novels, essays and more. National - and international - recognition followed the publication of Obabakoak, which was awarded the Spanish Premio Nacional de Narrativa in 1989. Obabakoak has been translated into more than twenty-five languages. The novels The Lone Man, The Lone Woman and Two Brothers have been translated into English, and his latest novel, The Son of the Accordion Player, appears in English from Harvill Press in 2007. His poetry collection Etiopia (its Spanish title is Poemas & HÃbridos) has been translated into French, Finnish and Italian, the latter receiving the Cesare Pavese Prize. Translations of many of his poems and short stories have been published in prestigious magazines throughout Europe and the Americas.