About the collection


Thirty years ago, it was virtually impossible to read any world literature in Basque, which means readers had to resort to major surrounding languages such as Spanish and French. Faced with this shortage, EIZIE, the Association of Basque Publishers and the then Department of Culture and Tourism of the Basque Government drew up a plan to translate and publish the world's literary heritage in Basque.

Thus, in 1989, they signed a collaboration agreement to create a collection called Literatura Unibertsala, which paved the way for the translation of classic and canonical works of world literature into Basque. The situation today is completely different. After more than 30 years of existence, the collection has produced a large number of volumes published by different editors, which are selected by tender.


  • During the first phase (1990-2002), 100 works were translated and published by Ibaizabal.
  • During the second phase (2002-2010), the collection was extended by 52 new titles published jointly by Elkar and Alberdania.
  • The third phase began in 2011 with the aim of publishing 50 new titles, which are currently taken charge by Erein and Igela.

Throughout these years, the collection has travelled a long and fruitful path, translating into Basque numerous works of world literature originally written in some twenty languages (Albanian, German, Arabic, Danish, Russian, French, Galician, Spanish, Catalan, English, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Serbian, Serbo-Croatian, Turkish and Czech) and translated into Basque by some 90 translators.

Urrezko biblioteka

In 2011, as the books from the first phase were sold out, a collection called Urrezko Biblioteka was launched with the aim of publishing updated translations of 20 books from this first phase. These new versions were published by Elkar.


In addition, thanks to an initiative developed in collaboration with the Basque Government's Department of Culture, some sixty titles from the first two phases of the collection have been made available to the public on the eLiburutegia platform (Digital Library of the Basque Country), where they can be downloaded in ePub format, free of charge and with no time limit.

Other initiatives

The Literatura Unibertsala collection has also given rise to various projects and initiatives: in 2012, EIZIE and the publishing house Erein published a textbook for second-year high school students, which was then updated and adapted by Erein for first-year students. See all the initiatives linked to the collection here (in Basque only).

Translation contest

Every year, EIZIE organizes a public call for tenders to assign the works to be translated. The association proposes a list of titles, and anyone wishing to take part must submit a translated sample of around 10 pages. See the contest rules here (in Basque only).