Amaia is a writer, a flamenco singer and literary translator specialized in Basque literature. She currently lives in Chicago, and performs regularly in venues all over the city. She is the most prolific translator of Basque literature to date, as well as a pioneer in the field, and has received multiple awards for her work; among them, a Wingate Scholarship, the OMI Writers Translation Lab award, a Mellon Fellowship for Arts and Scholarship, and an artist-in-residence award at the Cervantes Institute in Chicago. She has published and performed on both sides of the Atlantic: in Ireland and Great Britain, the countries in which she carried out her university education, and in the US, where she now lives.
In 2019, she collaborated with Jenny Holzer in her Bilbao Guggenheim retrospective, translating her Truisms and Inflammatory Essays into Basque, and helping in the selection of Basque poems to project on to the museum's facade.
With Kantuz, her classical-flamenco-jazz quartet, she performs new arrangements of pieces from the flamenco and classical traditions to create "radically modern versions of the classics." Their album KANTUZ : 1931 was released in 2019. Her latest literary translations include, Twist by Harkaitz Cano for Archipelago Books in NY, A Glass Eye by Miren Agur Meabe for Parthian Books in the UK (both published in 2018), and two seminal collections by the father of modern Basque poetry, Gabriel Aresti, Rock & Core and Downhill, for the University of Nevada Press, published in 2017. This last work earned her the 2018 Kutxa-Laboral Literary Translation Prize, the highest award for the translation of Basque literature.
She's currently at work on Unai Elorriaga's new novel, Last Year's Bones, Katixa Agirre's Mothers Don't and Alaine Agirre's poetry collection, Where Birds Never Visit. She is also writing ‘a novel in flamenco song,’ a work structured around a chain of flamenco songs, a hybrid experiment that is both literary and performative.
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