Tag: Durango Azoka

New books for Durangoko Azoka 2016

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Just a quick reminder to all our readers in the Basque Country who may be thinking of attending this year’s Azoka in Durango, the great book and record fair that turns into one huge celebration of Basque culture in general (with just a wee bit of good old-fashioned partying involved as well), this year’s publications by the Center will be at our stand. This is the 51st year of the Azoka, taking place this time round between December 2 and 6. For full details check out the official website: http://durangokoazoka.eus/eu/

New 2016 Releases

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Part of the Center’s Migration Studies Series, Basques in Cuba, edited by William A. Douglass, is an ambitious attempt on the part of a variety of scholars from different disciplines and countries to chart the impact of Basque immigration in Cuba, and the effect of this back in the Basque Country.

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The Basques by Jacques Allières, part of the prestigious Classic Series, is a work originally intended as an introduction to Basque history and culture, with a special focus on the Basque language, for a Francophone public. It is published here for the first time in English and serves as a unique perspective on the Basque Country by the renowned French linguist.

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Multilevel Governance and Regional Empowerment by Karolina Borońska-Hryniewiecka is a timely addition to the growing scholarship on the multiple layers of government within the European Union. In an age marked by the Scottish independence referendum of 2014, the movement in favor of a similar vote in Catalonia, and the Brexit referendum of 2016, this work reminds us of the importance of understanding such multiple power structures.

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Iban Zaldua’s This Strange and Powerful Language is a must for anyone interested in a general and accessible introduction to Basque-language literature. Zaldua’s easy-to-follow and often humorous prose guides readers through the decisions that writers make to publish in the Basque language, while offering a general introduction to the major literary work in the language.

If you can’t make it to Durango, don’t forget that you can shop for all our books online here: http://basquebooks.myshopify.com/

The 2015 Azoka and surroundings in pictures (and a few words)

So the 2015 Azoka has been and gone, and once again it’s time to take stock of what it all means to us at the Center. Here are a few pictures and thoughts.

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The art of letters

This year’s Azoka was marked by dry sunny weather, which is great when it comes to lugging books to the venue although some Azoka veterans say that the good weather actually keeps people away, with many other activities to make the most of in the great Basque outdoors, but that’s not the impression we had as a steady stream of people visited the Center’s stand each day.

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People checking out the Azoka. And this is downtime!

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The young woman in traditional Basque dress was handing out free stuff for kids outside, and yes, that really is a cloudless blue sky, in December, in the Basque Country!

It is worth pointing out, though, just how beautiful and dramatic the setting is for the Azoka – certainly tempting enough to combine a little outside activity with a visit to the epicenter of the Basque cultural world during this short, intense period.

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A panoramic view of the limestone mountains that embrace Durangaldea, the Durango region of Bizkaia

And if you are lucky enough to be able to venture out and about during Azoka time, these are the kinds of views you’re treated to.

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A light cloud cover hugs Mount Anboto

For more images of the varied and multiple events that took place at the Azoka, check out its own website’s day-by-day pictorial account here.

Getting all Azoka’d

The Azoka is in full swing and as always it is such a riot of activity that it’s a bit hard to keep up. It has been going great: interest in the Center’s books is really high, especially in the Basques in the United States, Basque Explorers in the Pacific Ocean, and Garmendia and the Black Rider. It is also a time to catch up with so many old friends and make new ones. A special treat this year is the presence of Bill Douglass, who is here to celebrate the launch of the Spanish and Basque versions of his Death after Life: Tales of Nevada, published by the Black Rock Institute but distributed in part by the Center. Other highlights for me have been seeing Imanol Murua, my old hiking buddy from his days at UNR and an accomplished journalist, writer, and teacher. Here are a few pics from my first days at the Azoka:

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Books, check, posters, check. All ready to go!

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Always love to have people perusing our books, especially when there is a real Basque cowboy in the background!

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Fifty years of Azoka! So proud to be a part of it!

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Poster for our good friend Imanol Murua’s book on the end of ETA.

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Outside the Azoka at night. It’s so cool how much of a social event a cultural gathering is here in the Basque Country.

 

CBS mentioned in Azoka interview

In an interesting interview with our good friends at EuskalKultura.com, Nerea Mujika, president of the Gerediaga Association that organizes the Durangoko Azoka (the Durango Book and Music Fair), explains how the Azoka is keen to develop relations with Basque diaspora communities. She also mentions the prominent place that the CBS has enjoyed as a forerunner in developing these transatlantic links with its stand at the fair, as well as the fact that both Jon Bilbao and Bill Douglass were presented with the fair’s own  prestigious Argizaiola Award.

Read the full interview here.

If you haven’t already done so, take a look at our Basque books editor’s very personal take on what the Azoka means to him here.

And don’t forget to check out Part II of our 2015 Books Round up, coming later today…

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The CBS stand at the Azoka with a selection of its publications

 

 

My Little Part of 50 Years of the Azoka

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My first day of my first Azoka in 2009. I was so excited to be a part of it all.

I am really excited to be preparing to journey to the Durango Azoka again, for the 6th time. And to take part in the 50th anniversary of this great cultural event. Trying to explain the Azoka to people here in the US, and especially my academic friends, can be difficult—we are used to book events being stuffy and sparsely attended affairs. Not so the Durango Azoka, it brings thousands of people from all over the Basque Country into the small town of Durango to celebrate Basque culture and the Basque language, Euskara. For a history of it’s standardization (an essential precursor to an event like the Azoka) see our brand new book, Writing Words: The Unique Case of the Standardization of Basque.

In preparation for my trip I’ve put together some of my favorite photos from my previous years at the Azoka.

And this year I will be posting special blog posts from the front lines of the Azoka, so stay tuned all next week for live updates!

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In 2014 author Begoña Echeverria (left) made the trip with me to help promote her book, The Hammer of Witches. One of her highlights was meeting a favorite author of hers, Itxaro Borda (right)

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A bird’s eye view of the controlled chaos that happens every year at Plateruena, the cafe-theatre which serves as meeting place for coffee or drinks, a place to grab some food, and venue for everything from read alongs to concerts to dance classes.

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Of all the fun that I have at the Azoka, the absolutely best thing is seeing people, especially kids, take an interest in our books. Here a family peruses our The Girl Who Swam to Euskadi, by Mark Kurlansky

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On an off-day, in 2009, I was treated to a visit of the famous Puente Colgante (the hanging bridge) over the River Nervión in Bilbao by an incomparable tour guide, our own contributor Katu.

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Taking a break in 2010 I took the stroll from my home away from home in Bizkaia during the Azoka, Elorrio, to stroll to Arrazola, under the shadow of the storied mountain of Anboto

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In 2011 a coworker took me to visit the famous sanctuary of Arantzazu, with its famous Oteiza facade of the apostles.

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The calm before the storm when the door’s open. They are long days, but it is so worth it to help share and spread Basque culture!

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The Liburudenda Donosti, the Donosti Bookstore, another regular stop on my circuit of the Basque Country.

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View from my window at the Hotel Elorrio in San Agustín, a hamlet of Elorrio on a morning before making the about 20-minute bus ride down to the Azoka. It’s not all quite this bucolic however, if I pointed my camera a little to the left, we would see the warehouse for the large Basque grocery store chain Eroski, which is an important piece of industry for Elorrio and is nowhere near as photogenic 😉

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Bilbao’s Gran Vía, alit for Christmas, in 2014

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Given that I don’t usually have a cell phone, it is always an adventure meeting with authors and others. Here, I waited to pick up some books from author Kirmen Uribe, whose children book Garmendia and the Black Rider we just published this year before he and his father-in-law attended an Athletic Bilbao soccer game in San Mamés stadium. Sadly I didn’t get to attend, but it was fun seeing the excitement of fans anticipating a big game.