Biography

Maixa Zugasti was born in Tolosa in 1973. She studied Spanish Philology at the University of Deusto and she is a teacher of Spanish literature. In 2017 she won the Premio Literario Ciudad de Irún, the literary prize awarded by the city of Irún, for her novel L.A.A. Shortly after that, she published her novel Ahotsak eta itzalak (which translates from the Basque as ‘Voices and Shadows’), with San Sebastián-based publisher Erein.

Writer and editor Ignacio Múgica describes Maixa as a woman who suffers from “writer’s curse”. She herself has said many times that literature is at the core of her existence, the wellspring of life, and as such it drives the two indispensable tasks in her solitary and passionate writer’s life—reading and writing. When Ignacio presented Maixa’s latest book, he highlighted the maturity of her work, both in terms of content and style.

Critic and editor Iñaki Aldekoa calls Maixa a “discovery” and praises the authenticity of her work which, in employing a variety of different genres, uses particular circumstances to reflect human suffering.

Self portrait

I was born in the Usabal neighborhood of Tolosa, a small market town about 25 km from San Sebastián. My parents were from the countryside and my two sisters and I grew up close to nature, spending lots of time at our grandparents’ house in the country. As it would anyone, the world of my childhood affected both my world view and my expression of it.

A withdrawn and solitary child, learning to read opened up the world of books to me and I became a passionate reader. Because I devoured every book that fell into my hands, my father introduced me to the town library. Even as an adult I re-read many of those early books with the same enthusiasm with which I re-watch beloved films. With the same excitement that I had as a child, I buy new books and delve into them. And when I do so with a pencil in my hand, I learn from them and I know they will be permanent residents in my library and that I will seek them out time and again.

Between the ages of four and eighteen, I studied at the Laskorain ikastola, a school where Basque was the language of instruction. My teachers encouraged my curiosity, fostered my desire to learn and shared my passion, lending me their own books and introducing me to authors whose works I would study in greater depth at university.

The memories of my childhood belong to my town, to my tiny kingdom, to my land. For me, Tolosa was a town full of stories, which I observed from behind the window of my parents’ car. Then came the concerts, conferences, plays and my film club. I am aware that what I unconsciously learned in that environment is not a mere fingerprint but rather the sediment from which my personality grew. With great emotion, I recall the corners of my town, the river and the land that is currently home to many of the people that I love.

The period that I spent studying Spanish Philology at the University of Deusto was an enriching and happy one. Afterwards, I began my work in the world of teaching.

For many years, my life with books has interwoven itself with my life with Asier and our children, but holes have appeared as well due to the loss of people that I love, especially my father. And then unexpectedly, during this very journey, you showed up. As you spend your time with my words, you will become part of a world that until now has belonged only to me. What I share in this space are the stories that are told in sotto voce, the stories told in secret.