The Malta Book Festival 2019

Event details

  • Wednesday | November 6, 2019 to Sunday | November 10, 2019
  • 9:00 am
  • Mediterranean Conference Centre

The Malta Book Festival is an annual cultural event held in Valletta, Malta. The Festival celebrates the wonder of books through a wide programme of family-friendly activities – including book launches and presentations, poetry and literature readings, meetings with authors, dramatisations of literary texts, and conferences and seminars. The festival also offers extensive networking opportunities for professionals in the book world.

The Malta Book Festival currently has an attendance rate of 40,000 people and the participation of more than 40 exhibitors. For five days, publishers, book sellers and authors gather under one roof to make the most of this unique opportunity to promote and sell their books to the public.

The international flavour of the Festival has increasingly come to the fore with the inclusion of foreign participants. In 2018 a highlight of the festival was the conference  ‘Literature in the Diaspora’, featuring Lou Drofenik (Malta/Australia), Nikola Petković (Croatia), Vera Duarte (Capo Verde) and Philip Ò Ceallaigh (Ireland). Other foreign guests of the Festival 2018 were British novelist, essayist and translator Tim Parks, and British writer Michael Amherst. Mr Parks lead a seminar on translation, engaging in a conversation on translation with translation studies and English students, and the general public. Michael Amherst, the author of ‘Go Where your Blood Beats’, in collaboration with MGRM.

Last but not least, the special guest of the 2018 festival was world-renowned author and social activist Naomi Klein (Canada), who talked to local journalist Matthew Vella about existential threats such as global warming, neoliberalist policies and disaster economics. The event was attended by over 300 people.

The National Book Council also dedicated an event to journalist and blogger Daphne Caruana Galizia on her legacy a year on her murder. Maltese poets and writers were celebrated in over 20 events, including book launches and book signing sessions.

The purpose of the Malta Book Festival is to promote reading and literacy while engaging visitors in discussions with both local and international writers and literature experts. It is free of charge and open to the public mornings and evenings, plus all day during the weekend. As a direct result of a bigger exhibition space, the Malta Book Festival doubled the attendance rate of students visiting the Festival for the morning activities compared to last year’s edition, thus showing an increased popularity of the Festival with the younger audience.

At the 2018 Festival, there were also readings from Czech and Slovak literature, while the ‘Reading Champions’ ceremony awarded children who have excelled in reading or inspired others to read. New to this edition of the festival is the participation of the Malta Visual and Performing Arts School, that organised a performance based on Fittixni by Antoinette Borg, last year’s winner of the Terramaxka book prize. The shows Books Come to Life by local comic duo DANUSAN, showing the importance of reading in their own hilarious way, attracted a huge audience.

The National Book Council’s aim is to present an experience revolving around books and reading, adhering to a philosophy that provides age-appropriated learning.

Trending an increasingly strong participation of women writers over the past few years, the Malta Book Festival undoubtedly reflects a significant turn, away from the traditional male writers-dominated publishing scene in Malta. Female writers are increasingly giving voice to their characters and to women in the Maltese society, and contributing to shape the new local intellectual and literary scene. The Malta Book Festival welcomes people from all walks of life, and serves as an open and democratic space for authors and publishers to promote their work.