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Basque author Kirmen Uribe will talk about his latest internationally acclaimed novel in New York


Basque poet and writer Kirmen Uribe
Basque poet and writer Kirmen Uribe


Basque author Kirmen Uribe (Ondarroa, Bizkaia, 1970) will participate in various literary events in the next days in New York, including a couple of talks with writer Iñaki Uriarte in Instituto Cervantes and Brown University on Monday November 15th, and his participation in the 7th Annual Festival of European Literature of New York on November 16th and 17th. The work of Uribe brought a “quiet revolution” to Basque literature, as expressed by the literary critic Jon Kortazar. In 2009 Uribe won the National Prize of Literature in Spain for his novel 'Bilbao-New York-Bilbao', that has been already translated to other languages like Spanish, Catalan and Galego, not yet to English.

New York, USA. Basque writer Kirmen Uribe, together with Iñaki Uriarte, will participate in various talks in New York. The city of New York is part of the personal geography of both authors, who carry their Basque heritage in their surnames as they create a universal art. Both authors will chat about their production and about how they feel connected or disconnected to the American metropolis.  

The talks will take place on Monday, November 15th, at Brown University (12pm) and Instituto Cervantes Auditorium (7:00pm) of New York. Apart from these two talks, Kirmen Uribe will be participating at the 7th Annual Festival of European Literature of New York.

On Wednesday, November 17th, first event within the festival will be 'Haunting the Present: A Reading with Eight European Writers', being Kirmen Uribe one of eight. There will be readings in English featuring all eight international authors participating in the festival at one of New York's leading independent bookstores (McNally-Jackson Books, 52 Prince St. at Lafayette). Readings start at 7:00pm. Eight European Voices: Reading and Reception.

On Thursday, November 18th, there will be readings in English and in the original language, featuring all eight authors, followed by a reception at The Czech Center (321 East, 73rd Street, New York, NY) starting 7:00pm. 

Modern literature in the Basque language 

Uribe is a member of a new generation of Basque language writters. He obtained a Basque-philology major in Vitoria-Gasteiz and completed postgraduate studies of Comparative Literature in Trento (Italy). He is the author of several multimedia projects that combine literature with different artistic disciplines, created in collaboration with musicians and artists of audiovisual and plastic arts. He has also written essays and fiction for children and young adults.

“Uribe´s literature sinks its roots in the Basque Country, but is completely universal”, stated the prestigious Harvard Book Review of Harvard University. Despite his youth, Kirmen Uribe already enjoys an international career. He has participated in various international meetings throughout Europe, Asia and America, and has been published in prestigious magazines such as The New Yorker. 

His book of poems Bitartean heldu eskutik (Meanwhile Take My Hand, Visor, 2003) was awarded the Critics´ Prize and has been translated into Spanish, French, Russian, Catalan and English. The English version was named by PEN American Center as a finalist for the best book of poetry translated into English in the US in 2007. 

'Bilbao-New York-Bilbao' 

In 2009, Uribe won the National Prize of Literature of Spain for his novel 'Bilbao-New York-Bilbao'. This novel tells the story of Liborio Uribe. When Liborio Uribe found out he was going to die, he decided he wanted to see a painting of Aurelio Arteta for one last time. He had spent all of his life in the high seas, navigating through the waters onboard the Two Friends, and like his son Jose, captain of the Toki Argia, he had experienced unforgettable adventures. 

Years later, and in front of that same painting, his grandson Kirmen, narrator and poet, will track down those family tales to write a novel. Bilbao-New York-Bilbao takes place during a flight between the airports of Bilbao and JFK in New York. It unravels the history of three generations of one family. Through letters, diaries, e-mails, and poems the book creates a mosaic of memories and narrations that pays homage to a world that is practically extinct and that at the same time celebrates the continuity of life. 

Related links

Trailer of Kirmen Uribe's 'Bilbao-New York-Bilbao' with English subtitles 

Uribe reads one of his poems in English at the Bowery Poetry Club, NY I

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