"Even though the love of reading led me to write, when I first began reading I never in any way imagined that I would become- that huge word-a writer. It was on the assumption that it would have something to do with letters and life that I chose to study journalism in Iruņea (Pamplona). On the way, though, real letters and real life made me look to Barcelona. In that city, thanks to a fellowship, I wrote Edo zu edo ni (Either You or I, 2000), my first novel. The poetry collection Patio bat bi itsasoen artean (A Courtyard Between the Two Seas, 2001, Ernestina Champourcin Prize) was also written in Barcelona.
When I returned to the Basque Country, I wrote the young-adult books Yako (2001) and Izurderen bidaia (Dolphin's Voyage, 2001), while writing for grown-ups the related stories in the volume Sartu, korrontea dabil (Come In, There's a Draft, 2001). The book begins with "A Draft," the story on this website. Several of my stories have been anthologized. In the meantime, I've written scripts for television and radio, and two plays, both unpublished. The last work I published is the young-adult book, Yako eta haizea (Yako and the Wind, 2002). Sartu, korrontea dabil recently appeared in Spanish translation, as Luego les separa la noche (2003).
May the reader who takes pleasure in writing take pleasure in what I've written. Place life, existence, in doubt while always holding onto the need to look inward, in this society that obliges us to live looking outward."
Rozas, I. "Biography," in Olaziregi, M.J. (comp.), An Anthology of Basque Short Stories, Center for Basque Studies-University of Nevada, Reno, 2004.
ŠTranslation: Kristin Addis
After earning her degree in Journalism from the University of Navarre, Ixiar Rozas earned her Master's Degree in Screenwriting from the Autonomous University of Barcelona. She then worked for many years as a newspaper columnist (El Diario Vasco, The Basque Daily; Egunkaria, The Basque Newspaper; Emakunde, Women's Basque Institute; etc.) and as a television screenwriter (Ander eta Konpainia, Ander and Company; Teilatupean, Under the Rooftops; Benta Berri; Compaņeros, Companions; Hasiberriak, Beginners; etc.). In Livorno, Italy, in 2003, in collaboration with Dario Malventi, she launched the Periferiak (Periferies) project, whose purpose was to meld art (in the widest sense of the word) and critical thought. Rozas and Malventi later directed three more episodes of Periferiak, in Bilbao and San Sebastian.
Rozas has won several literary prizes, including the 2001 City of San Sebastian Prize for her story, "Korronteak" (Currents, Kutxa, 2001) and the 2001 Ernestina Champourcin Prize in Poetry awarded by the Provincial Government of Alava for her work, Patio bat bi itsasoen artean (A Courtyard Between the Two Seas).
The first work Rozas published was the novel, Edo zu edo ni (Either You Or I, Erein, 2000). As literary critic Javier Rojo wrote, "Rozas chose an adult woman about sixty years old, Graziana, for her main character. Without intending to, Graziana becomes aware of the insignificance of her life. She has always lived to serve the other members of her family and for them, as well as for herself, her role is clear, though always determined by her place in the family: she has always defined herself as wife and mother. A trip that she takes with other women from the village to Okabe, where there are caves where coven celebrations were held in olden times, will be a fundamental turning point in her life. ...With respect to technique, Rozas uses a notable play between narrator and narration, on which the discourse of the work is founded. This allows the novel to combine within the voice of the protagonist-narrator various changing voices, directed at different listeners, sometimes difficult to identify but always focused on the protagonist. This narrative voice combines action, thought and dialogue, but also fantasy and onirism" (Rojo, Javier. "En torno a la narrative de Ixiar Rozas," "On the Narrative of Ixiar Rozas," Quimera, 234, September, 2003, pp. 33-34).
According to critic Mari Jose Olaziregi, Edo zu edo ni is "a work strong in both structure and style. ...The novel speaks of the desire to confess a love that doesn't exist, the fear of solitude... and the life that slips through our fingers. And for that purpose, reality, dream and fiction are mixed, in carefully chosen photos and images, to construct a puzzle that is completed before the readers' eyes. This cannot be said to be an ordinary love story, since it speaks not only of love but also of the fears that never leave us alone. The strength of Ixiar Rozas' first novel rests on calculated sentences and strophes, the feeling that nothing unnecessary has been written. Furthermore, the influence of cinema and poetry is clear in the many images presented in the novel. As the author herself confesses, she based her characterization of Graziana, whose story is told in the novel, on Percy Adlon's film, Bagdad Café" (in Olaziregi, Mari Jose. Euskal eleberriaren historia, Labayru, Bilbao, 2002).
Rozas' second work of narration, Sartu, korrontea dabil (Come In, There's a Draft, Erein, 2001), is a choral novel, "almost a collection of independent stories," as Rojo says. "This novel introduces a great number of characters, each with his or her own story, which has a minimal connection to the other stories. All of these characters are in a city that is foreign to them, and walk its streets as if lost. This city, Paris, though it could just as well be any big city, allows the characters to disappear and be anonymous, to mix in with the other citizens and lose their own identity. The novel begins when its characters come to the city on the train, and ends when some of them return to the station to leave the city. The fragments of life that appear in this novel are simply a parenthesis that opens and closes. These lives that cross at a given moment in the city continue on their way after the novel ends, perhaps in a different city, perhaps still in a relationship with each other, or in another fleeting liaison" (Rojo, Javier. Op. Cit.).
Negutegia (Winter Quarters, Pamiela, 2006) is Rozas' most recent work of prose to date. This work, which reflects on major issues of the late 20th century (immigration, the excesses of capitalism and their effects), was a finalist for the Basque Country Literature Prize in 2007. "In this modernized and personal rendition of The Odyssey, Ixiar Rozas has placed the main characters of her latest and memorable novel on a voyage to an island. The destination island is not Ithaca, but the prison island Gorgona off the coast of Livorno, and there are two travelers: Emi, from Berlin but of Turkish descent, and Dede, a Catalan who lived in France. Rozas' novel frequently refers to the balance and relationships between small stories and large ones, and the small stories told in its chapters work together to form a large one. Thus, through an examination of the origins of three characters, the author explores the history of 20th-century Europe and, taking a specific ethical and ideological stance, honors those who had to reconcile themselves to loss and suffering.
"But Negutegia can also be interpreted as a poetic commentary on the modern world and its macropolitics (politics in the strict sense, that is). Taking as a theme the death of Carlo Giuliani, who was killed in a 2001 protest against globalization, Rozas paints a critical portrait of the globalized West: crude working conditions, a precarious future, the solitude of the modern metropolis...
"The register and tone of this novel are almost poetic, and not merely because of abundance of metaphors or the lyricism of the writing. In addition, rather than merely presenting and explaining her topics, Rozas provokes her readers, stirs them up with random details and poetic images, through which she manages to pull together those seemingly unrelated pieces into such a coherent and moving whole" (Egaņa, Ibon. "Gure munduaz," "About Our World," Berria, 11 April, 2006).
Rozas, who is from Lasarte, published her volume of poetry, Patio bat bi itsasoen artean in 2001 with the Vitoria City Council. "With all humility... Patio bat bi itsasoen artean is an homage to looking. The references to Josep Plá at the very beginning of the book make it clear what sort of place we are entering: a world of vision, the description of a world that enters through cracks in intimacy-
The world is a broad and disparate theater. And if, to Plá, it is amusing to look through the window, this is exactly what Rozas does. Sticks her head out the window and sees a world, and writes the emblems of that world. The first poem supports this idea:
the walls always whisper a new story to me / the same as the one / your lips write on my skin.
"Looking and writing. Ixiar Rozas' style is defined by her excellent use of voices and her fine composition. And here we have a voice of
I-ness, a mood born of parallelism and modernistic in tone. She draws the map of a city, a multicultural Barcelona, with both immigrants and locals, but behind it there is a sentimental discourse with a
you. Looking is law and the accumulation of glances plays a game with wordplay and ingenuity.
"All is in a minor key, all has a melancholy tone. Characters appear, and their narrative picture is offered from poem to poem, until a whole world is created. As the writer says: "I gather landscapes / newborn forests / firm plains / landscapes that look like paintings / frozen experiences / fleeting events."
"The bitterness of I-ness is not lacking in this world. In the second part, new readings are presented (Prado, Bachmann, Lispector), but the world apparently goes on as it does in this poem. The disclosures of a world written by women are interesting, the references to women's literature, here and there, because Rozas shows the harshest side of women's lives, in the poem "Bonzo," for example, about abused women, or especially in "Ohiturak" (Customs)" (Jon Kortazar, "Patiora begira," "Looking at the Patio," Bilbao, April, 2002).
Rozas has also written a number of works for children and young people, including the Yako series: Yako (Erein, 2000), Yako eta haizea (Yako and the Wind, Erein, 2001) and Yako eta lurra (Yako and the Earth, Erein, 2004). With the support of the Department of Culture of the Basque Government, she wrote the theater piece, Gaur bakar bat/Una sola noche (Just One Night, Hiru, 2004), a work of literature of the absurd and an apocalyptic play with echoes of Beckett's dramatic works.
Further information about the author:
- To see the author's translated works, go to the List of Translations from Basque of this website.
- The website of Euskal Idazleen Elkartea-EIE (Basque Writers' Association).
- Literaturaren zubitegia.
- The Gate of Basque Poetry
- The websites of different publishing houses: Hiru, Erein, Lengua de Trapo
Š Negutegia: Pamiela