The National Book Council is announcing that the Malta Book Festival will be moving out of the Mediterranean Conference Centre (MCC) and will be held at a different location for the years to come. 

Given that Republic Hall was not made available to the organisers, we could not accept downsizing – particularly so when social distancing is and will be of the utmost importance for the months to come, especially during school visits and theatre shows. 

Reducing the venue’s area coupled with the possible limitations to the number of people allowed per square metre – at a time where uncertainty still reigns as to what the authorities’ regulations for holding events at public spaces will be next November – left us little choice. We simply could not hold the Malta Book Festival under the conditions imposed by MCC, who maintain that the Malta Tourism Authority (MTA)’s pre-booking to host the Cirque de Soleil was still valid for 2021. 

As reiterated multiple times, in this controversy the Government preferred to subsidise a foreign show at the expense of the local publishing industry. This contradicts MTA’s own policy, which should supposedly be geared towards promoting the local product. MTA’s event sponsorship of the Cirque du Soleil has dealt a tangible and material blow to the finances and revenues of the book industry and we have no choice but initiate a legal action. We believe that a national government should support its local arts industries and serve as a patron instead of undermine it by funding third-party events that are direct competitors – in this specific instance in terms of access to public resources.

Despite the circumstances, we are committed to organise a top-notch festival that aims at hitting record attendance and sales. Therefore, we proudly announce that this year’s Malta Book Festival will be held at the Malta Fairs & Conventions Centre (MFCC) between 3-7 November. Applications for stands will be open in the next few days. 

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