Bilbao–New York–Bilbao by Kirmen Uribe
Basque novelist Kirmen Uribe presents the American edition of his award-winning novel of “Bilbao–New York–Bilbao,” in conversation with translator Elizabeth Macklin and Coffee House Press editor Youmna Chlala.
The event will feature readings of the novel by author Kirmen Uribe and translator Elizabeth Macklin, a conversation between Uribe and Coffee House Press editor Youmna Chlala, and music by the singer-songwriter Mikel Urdangarin.
About the writer
Kirmen Uribe writes in Basque. He is one of the most relevant and widely translated writers of his generation in Spain. He won the National Prize for Literature of Spain for his first novel, Bilbao–New York–Bilbao. Uribe’s works have appeared in periodicals such as The New Yorker and The Paris Review. He was selected for the Iowa International Writers Program in 2017 and awarded a New York Public Library Cullman Center Fellowship for 2018-2019. He is now based in New York City, where he teaches Creative Writing at New York University.
Uribe’s novel Bilbao–New York–Bilbao is set on a hypothetical flight that its narrator, one Kirmen Uribe, takes from Bilbao’s Loiu Airport to New York’s J.F.K. On the flight the writer contemplates his supposed novel-in-progress, which is about three generations of a family, his own, whose life is bound up with the sea. Bilbao–New York–Bilbao is a novel with no conventional plot to speak of. Its structure is that of a net, and the knots of the net are the stories of the three generations as they intersect with crosswise stories and reflections on the twentieth century as it was experienced in the Basque Country.
Uribe has succeeded in realizing what is surely an ambition for many writers: a book that combines family, romances, and literature, anchored deeply in a spoken culture but also in bookishness—and all without a single note of self-congratulation.—Times Literary Supplement
About the translator
Elizabeth Macklin is the author of the poetry collections A Woman Kneeling in the Big City and You’ve Just Been Told. A 1994 Guggenheim Fellow in Poetry, she received in 1998 an Amy Lowell Poetry Travelling Scholarship, which allowed her to spend a year in the Basque Country, beginning studies in Euskara. Her translation of Kirmen Uribe’s first poetry book, Meanwhile Take My Hand, was published in 2007. In addition to Bilbao–New York–Bilbao, she has translated numerous multimedia works in which Uribe has been involved.
About Coffee House Press
Coffee House Press began as a small letterpress operation in 1972 and has grown into an internationally renowned nonprofit publisher of literary fiction, essay, poetry, and other work that doesn’t fit neatly into genre categories. Coffee House is both a publisher and an arts organization.