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Joseba Sarrionandia Uribelarrea (Iurreta, Biscay, April 13, 1958 – ) is a Basque writer and was member of the Basque separatist group ETA. He has written many books of poetry and short stories as well as novels. In 1985 he escaped from prison after being convicted as an ETA member and since then has lived in secret as he continues writing.
He earned a Basque Philology PhD from the University of Deusto, Bilbao and started working as a Basque language teacher. He taught phonetics in the Bergara center of the UNED and also in the Udako Euskal Unibertsitatea and wrote pieces for Zeruko Argia, Anaitasuna, Jakin and Oh Euzkadi magazines. He started the Pott Banda group along with Bernardo Atxaga, Manu Ertzilla, Ruper Ordorika, Jon Juaristi and Joxemari Iturralde. He also created the Ibaizabal magazine. He worked with short narrations and also translated books, notably Samuel Taylor Coleridge's The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.
In 1980, while a member of ETA he was arrested by Spanish police and sentenced to 22 years in prison. Since then the realities of prison have appeared in his writings. In 1985 on San Fermin day (July 7) he escaped from prison with Iñaki Pikabea as there was a concert in the jail with Basque singer Imanol Larzabal. They hid themselves inside a loudspeaker. The Basque radical rock group Kortatu created the song Sarri, Sarri in honor of this. Since that day he has lived in secret and the topic of banishment/exile is foremost in his writing. In his novel Lagun Izoztua (in Basque The Frozen Friend) he writes about banishment. He has written books and poems which have been sung by different Basque singers as Jexuxmai Lopetegi, Mikel Laboa, Ruper Ordorika and Fermin Muguruza. There is also an audio book called Hau da ene ondasun guzia with his voice reading poems and many songs performed by different singers.
- Izuen gordelekuetan barrena (1981)
- Narrazioak (1983)
- Intxaur azal baten barruan. Eguberri amarauna (1983)
- Alkohola poemak (1984)
- Ni ez naiz hemengoa (1985)
- Atabala eta euria (1986)
- Marinel zaharrak (1987)
- Marginalia (1988)
- Ez gara gure baitakoak (1989)
- Izeba Mariasunen ipuinak (1989)
- Ainhoari gutunak (1990)
- Ifar aldeko orduak (1990)
- Gartzelako poemak (1992)
- Han izanik hona naiz (1992)
- Hnuy illa nyha majah yahoo (1995)
- Miopeak, bizikletak eta beste langabetu batzuk (1995)
- Hitzen ondoeza (1997)
- Hau da nire ondasun guzia (1999). This book is published in Basque, English, German, French and Spanish.
- Zitroi ur komikiak: Joseba Sarrionandia komikitan (2000)
- Lagun izoztua (2001)
- XX. mendeko poesia kaierak: Joseba Sarrionandia (2002)
- Kolosala izango da (2003)
- Akordatzen (2004)
- Harrapatutako txorien hegalak (2005)
- Munduko zazpi herrialdetako ipuinak (2008)
- Gau ilunekoak (2008)
- Idazlea zeu zara, irakurtzen duzulako (2010)
- Moroak gara behelaino artean? (2010)
- Narrazio guztiak (1979–1990) (2011)
He has translated books by Samuel Taylor Coleridge (The Rime of the Ancient Mariner), Constantine P. Cavafy, T. S. Eliot, Manuel Bandeira, Fernando Pessoa (Marinela), Marcel Schwob (La Croisade des enfants), Dolf Verroen (Slaaf kindje slaaf) and various literary works of fifty different languages.
Prizes and recognition
- Ignacio Aldekoa Prize (1980)
- Resurreccion Maria Azkue Prize (1980)
- Bilbao City Council Prize (1980)
- Spanish Literature critics', Basque Narrative Prize (1986 and 2001)
- Euskadi Prize for Essay in Basque (2011)
One of his poems
The blacksmith slave
- Izuen gordelekuetan barrena, online poems.
- Gartzelako poemak, online poems.
- Project for translating a poem into as many languages as possible using wiki technology.
- on YouTube Poems sung by Jexuxmai Lopetegi