Mariasun Landa

Mariasun Landa
Photo of mariasun landa1
Cover of 'alex' by mariasun landa (erein publishing house)1
Cover of 'marina' by mariasun landa (erein publishing house)1
'For Mariasun Landa, portraying intense and universal human emotions in a simple way is the greatest challenge for a writer in her field.'
Mariasun Landa (Renteria, 1949) has published 27 books and, after Bernardo Atxaga, is the most widely translated Basque author. She is a Philosophy graduate from Sorbonne and currently teaches at the University of the Basque Country. She has also taught at primary schools and in Basque language academies. She has received many prizes in the Basque country, including the Lizardi prize (1982), the Euskadi prize (1991) and the Antonio María Labaien prize (2002). She has also been awarded several international prizes: the White Ravens in 2002 for Elefante corazón de pájaro (The Bird-Hearted Elephant  2001) and the 2003 Spanish Premio Nacional for children and young people's literature for Un cocodrilo bajo la cama A Crocodile Under the Bed 2004).

Throughout her literary career as a children's and young people's author she has continually explored different literary and techniques styles. For Landa, portraying intense and universal human emotions in a simple way is the greatest challenge for a writer in her field.

After publishing several books that were clearly influenced by Gianni Rodari's fantastic literature, the publication in 1984 of Chan el fantasma (Karmentxu and the Little Ghost a text written in a critical-realist vein, was a turning point in Mariasun Landa's literary career. In it, a ghost called Chan tells the story of a little girl who appears to be autistic and is confined to a mental hospital.

Iholdi is another key text in Landa's bibliography. It is one of her best books, and was included in the IBBY Honour List. With it, the author matured into a more postmodern aesthetic expression. Iholdi is a fragmentary book, made up of sixteen micro-stories woven together with simplicity and exactitude.

One feature that stands out in many of Landa's tales is humour, especially nonsensical humour. Two good examples of this are Galtzerdi suizida (The Suicidal Sock, 2001), and Errusika (The Dancing Flea), published in 1993, which is the story of a flea who wants to be a ballerina.

Best among Mariasun Landa's most recent publications are Elefante corazón de pájaro (The Bird-Hearted Elephant  2001)and Un crocodrilo bajo la cama (A Crocodile Under the Bed 2003). The latter deals with themes such as solitude and anguish in an absurdist style. It relates the complicated ups and downs in JJs life. JJ is an office clerk, a grey man leading a lonely grey life until the day he finds a shoe-eating crocodile under his bed. The tale is rich and audacious in its parody of psychiatric treatments and anti-depressants, and the comic situations the main crocodilitic character experiences will put a smile on most readers' faces.














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