Lucía Etxebarria is a contemporary Spanish writer who forms part of the Neorealist section of Spanish authors, alongside people like José Ángel Mañas, Juan Gracia and Gabriela Bustelo. Despite her relatively short career as a writer, she has published a large number of works, and has already been involved in her fair share of controversy!
Lucía Etxebarria was born in 1966 as the seventh of seven children in Valencia, although her parents are actually from Bermeo in Vizcaya. She began studying at a school run by nuns before she moved to Madrid where she took her degree in English Philosophy and Journalism. Here she went through an interesting career progression. Beginning as a waitress, she then worked with the magazines 'Ruta 66' and 'Nuevos Medios'. Following this she became the head of press at Sony and the head of communication at Fnac in Callao; however she gave up this job four months after publishing her first work.
Her first work was an extensive, novel-style biography of Courtney Love and Kurt Cobain, entitled La historia de Kurt y Courtney: aguanto esto, and was published in 1996. Her first novel was released a year later under the title Amor, curiosidad, prozac y dudas, receiving both praise from the likes of the Spanish author and Real Academia Española member Ana María Matute, as well as criticism as it contained several complete phrases from the novel Prozac Nation.
The following year, Lucía Etxebarria won the Nadal Prize with her second novel Beatriz y los cuerpos celestes, and then in 1999 she published En Nosotras que no somos como las demás. The year 1999 also saw her writing the script for the film Sobreviviré in conjunction with Menkes and Albacete, whom she also worked with on the script for I love you baby in 2001. The director Miguel Santesmases, along with Etxebarria, adapted her first novel for the cinema in the same year.
In September 2000, she moved to Scotland in order to work at the University of Aberdeen, where she gave classes on script writing as well as partaking in a number of seminars and conferences. In November, she was given an Honorary Doctorate in Literature by the same university. Her stay in Scotland had a significant influence in her writing, particularly her essay writing which she developed a lot during this time.
She returned to narrative in 2001 with the work De todo lo visible y lo invisible and a collection of stories called Una historia de amor como otra cualquiera in 2003. Later, Lucía Etxebarria decided to re-edit her first work with a completely new first part, changing the title to Courtney y yo. In 2004, she released a new novel based on the experience of motherhood called Un milagro en equilibrio.
Etxebarria has also written some contemporary Spanish poetry and it is in this genre that she has been the subject of controversy. Beginning with Estación de infierno in 2001, she was then accused by the magazine 'Interviú' of having plagiarized material from the poet, Antonio Colinas. This issue was later settled out of court for a sum of 3000 euros. In 2004, she published Actos de amor y placer, with which she won the 20th Barcarola Prize.
In the last few years, Lucía Etxebarria has produced a variety of other works. In 2005 and 2007, she published two new novels entitled Ya no sufro por amor and Cosmofobia respectively. In 2009, along with Goyo Bustos, she published an essay of reflections and advice about the complicated task of being a mother, father or teacher in these times.
The first two novels by Lucía Etxebarria, Amor, curiosidad, prozac y dudas and Beatriz y los cuerpos celestes, were written with a fair amount of autobiographical elements as well as a distinctive feminist feel. The second in particular contains a symbolism inspired by the Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri, and deals with the evolution of a bisexual feeling in which the author finds herself. Feminist and woman-centered elements can be found in a number of Etxebarria's works, including her compilation of essays La Eva futura. La letra futura from 2000.
Despite the large amounts of controversy surrounding her works and the numerous accusations of plagiarism, Lucía Etxebarria has been largely successful in the world of contemporary Spanish literature. Among just some of the prizes she has won are the Premio Nadal in 1998, the Premio Primavera in 2001, the third prize in the Premio Planeta contest in 2004, and the XX Premio Barcarola in 2004. Her works have also been translated into over 20 languages which means you don't have to visit Spain or even learn Spanish to be able to enjoy them - however the original Spanish versions will always be the best and most accurate representation of this author's works.