Writers In Between Languages: Minority Literatures in the Global Scene


edited by Mari Jose Olaziregi

“All authors who write in a minority language at some point find themselves struggling to answer a basic question: Why do you do what you do? Why do you write in a language that few understand, instead of choosing any one of those occupying a central orbit in the solar system of languages?”

—Bernardo Atxaga, from “The Cork and the Anchor”

This book is a collection of the contributions made by Basque writers and American and European academics to the international symposium, “Writers In Between Languages: Minority Literatures in the Global Scene,” held May 15–17, 2008 at the Center for Basque Studies, University of Nevada, Reno, in the United States. Our symposium attempted to think about the consequences of bilingualism for writers in a minority language, like Basque, in that they are located in that “in-between” of different cultural and identity communities and subjected to constant exchange and recognition of differences. One could say that practically all the current 800,000 Basque-speakers or euskaldunak who live on both sides of the Pyrenees in Spain and France are bilingual. And that this bilingualism is formed in conjunction with such widely spoken languages as Spanish and such prestigious languages in literary circles as French; languages that, in turn, have been displaced by the enormously central and legitimizing place that English occupies in the current global framework. The symposium attempted, moreover, to debate the consequences implied by linguistic extra-territorialization for many authors in a minority language, the realignment implied by the hegemony of English for all other literatures, and the options open to a minority author to get their voice heard in the World Republic of Letters. Together with the above themes, certain aspects of the academic study of a minority literature such as that of Basque completed the list of subjects we intended to examine.

ISBN 978-1-877802-90-4, $39.95 USD

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