Tandil, Argentina. “My Immigrant Roots,” is a literature contest sponsored by Petrotandil and aims “to promote culture activity, and specifically, research into family roots.” In the 2017 edition, after evaluating a total of 85 submissions, corresponding to 19 nationalities, and after the arduous task of selecting a winner, the jury awarded first prize to “The Sea in Her Eyes,” by Maria Valeria Aramburu. According to the jury, it is “a compelling text that tells the amalgam of everyday life in various eras and places. In includes pains and joy, encounters and misunderstanding, many memories and some omissions. The work reflects the profound identity with roots in the Basque Country, where the trunk originated, but with a clear harmonious integration of the local culture in Tandil. The love of the legacy and the contribution in its scale is also made clear of the society that welcomed it.”
Awards and Trips
In keeping with the spirit of the proposal, first prize is a trip to the author’s country of origin. This being the case, Valeria will travel in 2018 with her daughter Begoña to Euskal Herria where they will visit Goierri, Gipuzkoa where the Aramburu Iparraguirres originated. In the author’s words in “The Sea in Her Eyes,” “The Aramburu Iparraguirre family originated in Ataun and Beasain. My father was born in Lazkao because my grandfather worked nearby. My father came to Argentina in 1949 with his parents and his brother Paco.”
Professor of Literature and Euskera
It’s not surprising that the text presented by Valeria has an autobiographical imprint. One can even say that it has brought together two of her genuine interests: literature and love for her Basque roots. Remember that Valeria is an active member of the Gure Etxea Basque Club in Tandil, where she has served for years as Basque teacher. She has also taught Basque classes as part of a club project at the University of Central Tandil. Even if she is no longer teaching Euskera, she continues to be involved in teaching in various local schools teaching literature and language practices. Zorionak, Valeria!