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All you need to know about the Malta Book Festival 2019

The Malta Book Festival has now established itself as one of the biggest cultural events revolving around books and reading. With less than a week to go, we have gathered here all the information you need to know about the 2019 edition of the Festival.

The programme of cultural activities is comprised of more than 90 events targeted to children, families, publishing professionals and the general public. One can find book launches and presentations, conferences, discussions, literary film adaptations and film premieres, workshops, seminars, fun activities for children and more. These activities are all prepared by the National Book Council as well as exhibitors and other partners.

The special guest of the Festival this year is Judge Rosemarie Aquilina. Aquilina, daughter of a Maltese emigrant in the U.S, was in the international limelight last year when she presided over the Larry Nassar case. Nassar, ex-coach of the U.S National Gymnastics Team, was found guilty of sexually assaulting hundreds of teenagers during his twenty-year-long post. Judge Aquilina will be interviewed by Times of Malta Editor-in-Chief Herman Grech on Thursday 7 November at 8 pm on her legal career, activism, her Maltese connection and her literary contribution with two crime novels. On the same day, at 11 am, she will be part of a distinguished panel in a seminar organised for University students. Dr. Marceline Naudi from the Gender Studies Department, Dr. Ruth Farrugia from the Faculty of Law and Dr. Lara Dimitrijevic from the Women’s Rights Foundation will converse with Judge Aquilina.

The main theme of the Malta Book Festival 2019 is sci-fi and fantasy literature. The opening conference,‘Strange New Worlds’, will feature Loranne Vella (Malta), Jon Courtenay Grimwood (Great Britain), Kali Wallace (United States) and Dave Rudden (Ireland), and will tackle themes revolving around the genre such as the creation of imaginary worlds with actions that take us back to the real world, and the literariness of the genre, among others. The discussion will be moderated by sci-fi Maltese writer Mark Anthony Fenech.

1,700 children are expected to visit the Malta Book Festival everyday during weekday mornings, and the age-appropriate shows the National Book Prize organised together with Antonella Axisa and her troupe will be based on last year’s Terramaxka winners, namely Mamà, allura din imħabba? by Moira Scicluna Zahra and Mark Scicluna for primary children, and Jarmuk by Steven Lughermo for older children. One of the Festival’s international guests, Dave Rudden, will also be putting on a very special performance in English on Friday morning. Rudden has travelled the world visiting schools and speaking to children about their potential for becoming writers.

The DANUSAN shows Il-Kotba Jieħdu l-Ħajja on Friday 8 at 7 pm, Saturday 9 at 8 pm and Sunday 10 at 3 pm will be based on this year’s Terramaxka winning titles, which will be announced on Tuesday 5 November during the Festival’s opening ceremony. The shows have become quite a popular attraction at the MBF. Tickets can be purchased on showshappening.com. With every ticket on the day of the show you will also receive a 3€ book voucher to spend during the Festival.

The much awaited short-film premiere night will take place as usual on the Saturday. Thie year round,the winning project for the Malta Literary Short Film Contest is Ġulina, which was adapted from Alfred Sant’s novel that goes by the same name and is the production of Peter Sant. During the same event, one of the episodes from the NBC Docudrama Series Storja ta’ Storja will also be premiered. The contest was launched this year and the winning applicant is the company Sajjetta. The series is directed by Charlie Cauchi and Martin Bonnici. On the same night the the winner of the NBC Film Adaptation Fund, which is the biggest fund to date commissioned by the NBC, will also be announced.

Friday is poetry day at the MBF, and the winners of the Doreen Micallef National Poetry Contest will be announced during a special event at 8 pm. There will be poetry readings from leading Maltese poets.

A new initiative to this year’s Festival is the Literary Speed Dating with publishing professionals. The concept of speed dating was adapted to let the public have the opportunity to book a 15-minute slot to meet with their favourite author, a publisher, an illustrator and other publishing professionals during the MBF 2019, at the Author’s Hub in Sacra Infermeria. Use this space to discuss anything you would like with your preferred literary speed dater, and book your slot clicking here: https://ktieb.org.mt/litspeeddating19/.

The MBF is also a very good opportunity for the general public to meet those people who have contributed in a distinguished way to the book industry in Malta. Last year’s National Book Prize Lifetime Achievement Award went to Lillian Sciberras. The public can meet Lillian and get to know more about her literary and professional career on Sunday 10 November at 5 pm.

Sponsored and operated by Malta Public Transport, for the first time this year a free shuttle service will be available for the public – daily and every thirty minutes. Park your car in Floriana and catch the MBF free bus from Bay A Valletta Terminus to MCC.

The Malta Book Festival 2019 is taking place between 6–10 November, at the MCC. A copy of the programme of activities has been delivered in print form to every household in Malta and Gozo. You can download a copy here.