Lourdes Oñederra

Lourdes Oñederra
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In Lourdes Oñederra's stories, both in her novel Eta emakumeari sugeak esan zion (1999, And the Serpent Told the Woman) and in the story Mrs. Anderson's Longing, it is a simple look that unveils desire. Because the subject of Oñederra's short story is the desire of an aging woman, she mentions Doris Lessing's Love, Again at the beginning. Glances, short and interrupted sentences, repeated names and elements that mark the rhythm, sensual descriptions. These are the components of Oñederra's work, especially the measured prose that plays with silence, the gaps and breaks that seek the reader's participation.'

M.J. Olaziregi An Antology of Basque Short Stories, Center for Basque Studies-University of Nevada, 2004).


My first formal, special and purposeful relationship with literature came about before I'd finished my studies in Spanish philology, when I wrote what would become the epilogue to Ramon Saizarbitoria's Ehun Metro (A Hundred Meters). Around the same I time met Saizarbitoria himself: him and the people who were part of his literary circle, the writers of the magazine Oh Euzkadi; and I am especially indebted to that time, that atmosphere, and to Ramon in particular for making me believe that I had to write. Also, before I completed my degree I started writing reviews for the magazine Ere, with Andu Lertxundi as my boss.

I don't know exactly when it happened, but I know that by the time I got my degree, in 1980, and went to the United States to do a masters in linguistics, it was entirely clear to me that I would not study any more literature; I had developed a terror of it by then. Studying literature, I felt, would extinguish whatever it was that since childhood had made me ceaselessly put things into words and words on paper. Since that time, I've dedicated my professional life to studying, researching and teaching phonology. In between, I've written for Egunkaria and Hika about contemporary issues such as our language and our political situation.

But through the cracks something else escapes, and when I sit down to work seriously with it, the stories come out. That is how, struggling over several long years, I wrote the novel ...Eta sugeak emakumeari esan zion (...And the Snake told the Woman; 1999). And since its success I've published the story Anderson andrearen kutixia (Mrs. Anderson's Longing, 2000), and have also been commissioned to write for several magazines.

Nowadays, my work in phonology is inescapably leading me to study the rhythms of the language, and that has had an intimate impact on the writing I was hoping to keep separate from my professional work. (Oñederra, L., Biography, in An Anthology of Basque Short Stories, Center for Basque Studies-University of Nevada, 2004).

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