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The Malta Book Festival opens its doors tomorrow: save the date – 7-11 November 2018

The Malta Book Festival, the most prestigious event on the islands celebrating the book culture, kicks off on Wednesday 7 November and will be running until Sunday 11 November. The opening ceremony will take place on Tuesday 6 November at 6:30 pm, when the winners of the Terramaxka Book Prize (book for children) will be announced.

Here are some snippets from the list of activities, where, what and when you can visit (programme of events for the 2018 Malta Book Festival).

Everyday on weekdays in the morning the MBF is opening its doors to schoolchildren with a variety of activities, including age-appropriate performances inspired by the winners of last year’s Terramaxka prize (for books for children).

As usual, the main event hosted by the National Book Council on Wednesday 7 is a conference, which this year focuses on literature in the diaspora, with the participation of four international and local guests who have all experienced living away from their home country, and are writing about it. Journalist and writer Teodor Reljić will lead the discussion on the various nuances on how the realities of displacement are reflected in literature. The guests are Lou Drofenik (Malta), Nikola Petković (Croatia), Vera Duarte (Cabo Verde) and Philip Ò Ceallaigh (Ireland).

Other activities will be running every hour in the morning for the whole duration of the festival. At the Milan Haluska Stand, children will discover Czech and Slovak literature, famous around the world. At the Birdlife Stand, children will look at how nature can inspire creative writing by putting in order different images and tell their story to the others. Later on in the afternoon, writer Clare Azzopardi will lead a fun activity session for the Ċentru Leap children. She will be reading from her book ‘Is-Sħaħar ta’ Petut’. What about recycling ideas? At the Malta Libraries Stand there will be hand-on paper craft tutorials and other paper recycling ideas awaiting book-lovers young and old. The French Embassy will also have its say on this first day of the Festival, with a talk about micro-publishing and its development in Normandy.

On the second day of the Malta Book Festival, the National Book Council will start to individually present this year’s foreign guests. At 5:30 pm the NBC will present Croatian author Nikola Petković, who will be talking to journalist Teodor Reljić about his work as writer, literary critic, translator, screenwriter and scholar. An hour later is Vera Duarte’s turn. The Cabo Verdean novelist and poet will be discussing her novel ‘A Matriarca’ and her poetry with Prof. Teresa Andrade.

Thursday 8 November is also a feast of poetry, with main NBC events celebrating Maltese poets, and the annual National Poetry Contest Mons. Amante Buontempo where winners will be announced. Following this event, Maria Grech Ganado and Gioele Galea, who have recently published their latest work, will be reading from their poetry.

As is customary, at 8 pm NBC and Horizons will be presenting an event celebrating last year’s winner of the National Book Prize Lifetime Achievement Award, Victor Fenech.

Children will also be awarded on 8 November, as the NBC in collaboration with the National Literacy Agency will be holding the ‘Reading Champions’ event.

Friday 9 November will be packed with events. On the third day of the Festival the NBC will host Naomi Klein, the world-renowned author and social activist whose books have been bestsellers internationally. Naomi Klein will be talking to journalist Matthew Vella about existential threats such as global warming, neoliberalist policies and disaster economics. An event sure not to be missed.

During Friday morning at 11 am British novelist, essayist and translator Tim Parks will be engaging in a conversation with prof. Clare Vassallo on translation with translation studies and English students, and the general public. In the afternoon the NBC will be presenting writer Michael Amherst, the author of ‘Go Where your Blood Beats’, in collaboration with MGRM (Michael will be interviewed by international activist and researcher Ruth Baldacchino). Irish writer and translator Philip  Ò Ceallaigh will be engaging in a talk with Maria Frendo (University of Malta) about his career as a writer and translator away from his home country.

At 7:30 pm in Republic Hall the comical duo DANUSAN will make their way for the first time ever into the Malta Book Festival with ‘Il-Kotba jieħdu l-ħajja’, a show about the importance of reading and books, open to all the family. Tickets must be booked in advance from showshappening.com. The other two shows will be on Saturday at 7:30 pm and on Sunday at 3 pm.

The rest of the day includes reading sessions, storytellings and activities for children and book signings and book launches at various publishers’ stands, including Faraxa and Merlin Publishers.

Saturday is the busiest day for the Malta Book Festival, featuring more than thirty activities. Highlights for the day are the interview with British novelist Tim Parks lead by Prof. Ivan Callus, a discussion around the legacy and controversies surrounding journalist and blogger Daphne Caruana Galizia, and an evening premiere of the award-winning short film ‘Camilla’ that won the NBC Short-Film Literary Contest. The public can also opt to attend the book-signing session with author and social activist Naomi Klein at 4:30 pm.

Other activities on Saturday are children’s workshops, a session of ‘Read with me’ by the National Literacy agency in English, animated readings for children in the Maltese language at the Malta Libraries’ stand, and various activities during the day organised by the exhibitors, including Merlin Publishers and Għaqda tal-Malti – Università.

Sunday will bring an end to this year’s Malta Book Festival, with plenty of interesting events organised by the National Book Council, as well as other activities from various exhibitors. Pariah Press will be resuscitating Anthony Burgess’s infamous 1970 lecture at the University of Malta in the new and expanded edition of ‘Obscenity & the Arts’.

The event ‘What do you need authors for’ will be a panel discussion led by Mark Vella and featuring Wayne Flask, Alex Vella Gera, Arnold Cassola and Emanuel Psaila, in which we look at the history of Maltese literature in connection with the political relevance of authors and how this has changed through the years. The NBC this year will be wrapping up the Festival with an event dedicated to Lou Drofenik, the Maltese-Australian novelist who won the 2017 edition of the National Book Prize with her novel ‘The Confectioner’s Daughter’. Lou will be talking about her new books, including ‘Love at the Time of the Inquisition’, which was shortlisted for the 2018 National Book Prize, and her new book ‘The Reluctant Healer’. The event will be organised in collaboration with Horizons.

The public will be able to visit the Malta Book Festival hassle free: a shuttle will be available on Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 November all day to and from Publju Bus Stop, near the Independence Monument in Floriana, to the Mediterranean Conference Centre. This service is free of charge and will be running every hour. First trip from Floriana at 9:15 am on Saturday and 8:15 on Sunday. Last trip from MCC at at 22:30 am on Saturday and 21:30 on Sunday.

This year’s festival will take place at the Mediterranean Conference Centre, Valletta, starting from Wednesday 7 November until Sunday 11 November. The programme of events has been delivered in printed form to all households in Malta and Gozo. You can download or view a digital copy of the programme @ http://ktieb.org.mt/national-book-festival. Find out more about the Festival @ https://www.facebook.com/events/2161321014103325/