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Joseba Sarrionandia (Spain)

Joseba Sarrionandia was born in Iurreta in 1958 and holds a degree in Basque philology. He has written for newspapers and literary magazines and translated literary works, and is currently a member of the Basque academy of letters. He was one of the founding members of the literary group POTT, which had a powerful influence in the development of Basque literature in the 1980s. His collaboration with ETA brought about his imprisonment in 1980; he escaped in 1985 and his whereabouts have been unknown since.

He has been quite experimental throughout his literary career and, as well as exploring the traditional genres (poetry, narrative, essay), he has written hybrid texts that explore an innovative concept of literature. He is a renowned short story writer and, more recently, has written novels such as Lagun izoztua (The Frozen Friend, 2001) and Kolosala izango da (It Will Be Colossal, 2003). His work as a literary translator has influenced his development as a writer. Some of his translations include T. S. Eliot's The Wasteland, Coleridge's The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner and Fernando Pessoa's The Mariner. It is, however, his career as a poet which has earned him his reputation in the world of contemporary Basque letters, and his first book, Izuen gordelekuetan barrena (In the Recesses of Fear, 1984), is an inspiration to many young Basque poets.