In the culture programme of this year’s Malta Book Festival, Mario Azzopardi, the renowned playwright, poet, educator and cultural journalist, will have a whole event dedicated to him as the winner of the 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award. The event, which was set up by Horizons in collaboration with the NBC, will take place at Sir Temi Zammit Hall on Friday 10 November at 8:00 pm (MCC).

Presented by Antonella Axisa, the evening opens with a 10-minute film on the author and poet, featuring an interview with the personality set at the beautiful monastery of the Order of the Carmelites in Mdina. The monastery was the site of one of  Azzopardi’s latest work – Santa Maria de Pazzi, a modern-day passion play inspired by the historical figure of the Carmelite nun and mystic.

The event will then follow with a discussion between Azzopardi and a panel of guest speakers, consisting mainly of authors, actors and culture activists that have worked closely with Azzopardi at some point in his career. Among them, we find fellow playwright Dr. Alfred Sant. The discussion will be punctuated with various readings of excerpts of Azzopardi’s work.

Azzopardi was awarded the 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award not only for his literary output in poetry, literary criticism, and drama but also for his work in the field of cultural journalism. As one of the founders of the Moviment Qawmien Letterarju, Azzopardi worked incessantly to promote the work of fellow authors and to encourage young authors to break off with tradition and seek new literary pastures. As the son of working class parents from Ħamrun, Azzopardi remained loyal to his roots, upholding leftwing ideas in his weekly newspaper columns and pursuing his mission to bring literature to the people.

The event will close off with a brief recitation of a work by Azzopardi. All members of the public are urged to come along and meet this unique personality on Friday 10 November. The event is a highlight of the Festival and should not be missed by those who love Maltese literature.

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