The University Libraries’ Jon Bilbao Basque Library, with the Center for Basque Studies in collaboration with REWEST (Research in Western American Literature and Culture) and the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU) will host a two-day conference commemorating the centennial of Robert Laxalt’s birth, his writing and career.
The conference, “A Basque American Literary Pioneer: Robert Laxalt” will take place March 9 and 10 inside the Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center Rotunda – located on the north side of the building across from Bytes Café.
“The goal of the conference is to offer new perspectives on the writings of an author who may be regarded as the dean of Basque American literature,” Basque Librarian Iñaki Arrieta Baro said. “Robert Laxalt is one of the most notable twentieth-century voices in Nevada and the American West.”
Laxalt’s literary career, consisting of seventeen books, is an authoritative reflection on the experiences of the Basques of his time in the United States.
“The conference brings together researchers and scholars from the United States and Europe to explore different topics related to Laxalt’s writing and career, including his Basque American works, his literary representation of Nevada and the West, his journalistic pieces, his legacy at the University of Nevada, Reno and his contribution to the cultural and social visibility of Basques in the U.S.,” Arrieta Baro said.
Speakers include, but are not limited to: Monique Laxalt, Univeristy of Nevada, Reno Professor Emeritus Warren Lerude, David Río, Monika Madinabeitia, Willy Vlautin, Sandra Ott and Mariann Vaczi, Gretchen Skivington, JoAnne M. Banducci, William A. Douglass, Carmelo Urza, Gabriel Urza, Asier Barandiaran, Larraitz Arinznabarreta, Iñaki Arrieta Baro, Xabier Irujo.
Basque festival participants include: Zazpiak Bat dancers, Bertsolariak, Maddi Aggire and Mikel Petrirena.
“My father was a sheepherder, and his home was the hills” is probably the sentence that best expresses the feeling of thousands of Basque immigrants in the American West,” Xabier Irujo, director of the University of Nevada, Reno Center for Basque Studies said. “Robert Laxalt was a multifacted man. He was a scholar, journalist and cultural leader. It is an honor to study and celebrate the literary legacy he established.”
About the Jon Bilbao Basque Library and the Center for Basque Studies
The Jon Bilbao Basque Library, part of the University Libraries, holds one of the world’s largest collections of Basque-related materials, currently at 55,000 volumes. The Center for Basque Studies has more than 50 years of experience conducting research about the Basques, and operates a well-established international publishing house that focuses on Basques.
About the University Libraries
The University Libraries embrace intellectual inquiry and innovation, nurture the production of new knowledge, and foster excellence in learning, teaching and research. During each academic year, the Libraries welcomes more than 1.2 million visitors across its network of four libraries: the Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center, the DeLaMare Science and Engineering Library, the Savitt Medical Library and the Prim Library at the University of Nevada, Reno at Lake Tahoe. Visitors checked-out more than 80,000 items and completed more than two million database searches.