A discussion questioning whether in 2021 authors feel free to write as they like. 

It is easy to forget that up to 2009, authors and publishers still risked imprisonment if they published texts deemed obscene or too risky. That time has passed, and formal censorship is no longer with us. Does that mean that in 2021 authors feel free to write whatever they desire, or do they still need to tread carefully when it comes to choosing what to write about? still want to be careful what he can and cannot write? In present day Malta are there still at play forms of informal, indirect or even self-censorship?

For this exchange Chris Grupetta from Merlin Publishers will be joined by LON Kirkop, winner of the 2020 Literary Contest – Novels for Youth, the author Loranne Vella, and Kirsten Spiteri.

LON Kirkop is a 29-year-old visual artist. His love affair with art, literature and theatre dates to his childhood, and fast-forwarding to today he has managed to find a way to incorporate all three passions into his work. Lon studied at MCAST’s Creative Arts Institute and graduated B.A.(Hons) in Fine Arts in 2017. He is currently reading for an M.A. in Printmaking at Cambridge School of Arts, UK. His novel Mitt Elf Isem Ieħor, winner of the Young Adults Literature Award 2020, is due to be published by Merlin Publishers later this year.

Loranne Vella is a Brussels-based Maltese writer, translator and performer, co-author of the fantasy novels The Fiddien Trilogy, the author of MagnaTM Mater and Rokit, and several short stories, including the recently published short story collection mill-bieb ‘il ġewwa.  She has translated a series of children’s books into Maltese and has won various local literary awards both for her original works, including the National Book Prize for Rokit (2018), and her translations.

Kirsten Spiteri was born in 1987. His first story was published in Sagħtar magazine when he was just 12 years old. In 2017 he won the Young Adults category at the London Book Festival.