Joseba Sarrionandia was born in 1958. In 1980 he was awarded the BBK literature prize, and in 1981 published his first poetry collection, Izuen gordelekuetan barna. By then, he had been imprisoned for political activity. In 1985 he escaped from the Martutene prison (Donostia/San Sebastian); he has lived in exile since then. In his student days, he participated in the creation of the avant-garde magazine Pott, together with Bernardo Atxaga, Jose Mari Iturralde, Manu Erzilla, and Ruper Ordorika, and his first few poems and short stories were published there.
He has published many volumes of poetry. Although he is primarily known as a poet, he has published in every genre, and is the author of several volumes of essays, three short-story collections, two novels, two books for children, and hybrid works mixing the essay form with fiction. He is also the translator of several canonical translations into Basque, including T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land (1983), Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (1995), Fernando Pessoa’s O Marinheiro (1985), and texts by Miquel Martí and Manuel Bandeira.