The Malta Book Festival, the largest local cultural event dedicated to books and reading in Malta, will be held for the second year running at the Malta Fairs and Convention Centre (MFCC), Ta’ Qali, opening its doors to the public over five days from Wednesday 23 till Sunday 27 November. Here you will find all the information you need to make the best of these five days celebrating the world of books, publishing, and reading.
This year’s edition has built on its legacy and attracted a long list of participants from all sectors working directly in the book industry and beyond, leading the Festival to celebrate the book culture in all its forms. The National Book Council strives to make the Festival as inclusive as possible and is collaborating with different entities and various stakeholders to this end.
A full cultural programme to discover
The events programme features more than 100 activities aimed at children, families, publishing professionals and the general public which include numerous book launches and presentations, meetings with authors, book signing sessions, seminars, thematic discussions and film screenings. The Festival events are being organised by the National Book Council in collaboration with participating publishers, authors, booksellers, student associations, NGOs and government agencies.
At the core of the Festival will be a record number of 50 exhibitors, who are all linked to the book industry and many of whom are organising numerous events populating the Festival programme. A wide range of books, including the winners of the National Book Prize 2022, will be available to the public. Discover who are the exhibitors at the Malta Book Festival 2022 here.
Book launches and presentations remain a staple part of the Festival. Among others, Kotba Calleja will launch Ryan Falzon’s debut-novel Sajf, SKS will present Ġużè Orlando’s republication of L-Ibleh, and the University organisation Għaqda tal-Malti will launch the 41st edition of Leħen il-Malti. A seminar on book production will be held by Gutenberg Press.
A special programme for children and their families
The morning hours of Wednesday 23, Thursday 24 and Friday 25 will be specially dedicated to registered students from schools in Malta and Gozo. All registered children will be handed a €5 voucher, enabling them to browse through the various exhibitors’ stands and decide for themselves which book they are to take home with them. Thanks to the collaboration with the Żigużajg Festival, schoolchildren will also be treated to two daily shows aimed at different age cohorts. During the first two days, the shows will be adapted from winning children’s books of Premju Terramaxka 2022, while Friday will be dedicated to ‘Striped Pyjamas: Meet John Boyne’, a performance with special guests John Boyne and illustrator Gattaldo. Registrations for these shows are now closed.
Children’s activities continue in the afternoons and the weekend. On Saturday, children aged seven to twelve can enrol in an exclusive workshop with the Gattaldo, the author of the children’s book Fearless (Il-Ġurnalista, Midsea Books) for a one-off illustration workshop. A further two shows by Żigużajg will also be organised for the whole family during the weekend, as part of the Festival’s calendar. Click here to buy your ticket for Coco the Singer, the Chocolate Finger. With the exception of this show, all other events taking place at the Malta Book Festival are free of charge.
In the spirit of inclusion, and thanks to the collaboration with Inspire Foundation, a Sensory-Friendly Room will be set up inside the Rainbow Hall, offering an autism-friendly space for children on the spectrum to have access to storytelling activities in a safe and inclusive environment.
The Energy and Water Agency will also be present at the Festival, lending itself to children, presenting reading sessions and scientific experiments linked to the security, sustainability and affordability of energy and water.
International Guests at the Festival: John Boyne and Joe Sacco
John Boyne, the bestselling author of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (David Fickling Books), will be the headlining international guest as part of the international book tour for the publication of his critically acclaimed latest novel, All the Broken Places (Doubleday). Boyne will make his first appearance at the Friday shows for schoolchildren produced by Żigużajg. Later on, in the evening, he will be interviewed by the prize-winning local author Leanne Ellul, and will be available for a book signing session.
World renowned Maltese-American comic book artist and journalist Joe Sacco will be interviewed by Malta Today’s journalist James Debono on Thursday 24. A book signing session will then follow. On Saturday, Sacco will be on the panel for a discussion moderated by Teodor Reljić: What’s an Image worth – forms of visual storytelling, alongside photojournalist Joanna Demarco and illustrator Gattaldo.
Special Live Podcast with Jon Mallia
For many, their relationship with books is special. Thus, during the first day of the Festival, Jon Mallia, while surrounded by books and book lovers, will broadcast a live podcast, asking people about this relationship, and which books have made it stronger.
Other events organised by the National Book Council – celebratory evenings, audiovisual work, poetry
In collaboration with a number of its local and international partners, the NBC is organising a number of events showcasing its efforts in the promotion of Maltese literature. On Wednesday 23, together with Aġenzija Żgħażagħ, a revamped edition of the Novels for Youth Literary Contest will be launched, and later on during the same evening, a discussion moderated by Dr Immanuel Mifsud will pay tribute to the late Mario Azzopardi. On Friday 25, this year’s Doreen Micallef’s National Poetry Contest winners will be announced, featuring readings by 2021 award-winning poet Carmel Scicluna and the 2022 winners.
On the morning of Saturday 26, a number of publishing industry-related events and talks will take place. John Boyne’s literary agent Simon Trewin will present the talk ‘Confessions of a literary agent’ about the agent’s role and will answer questions from prospective authors, published authors or individuals looking to embark on a career in publishing. Later during the day, Literary Speed Dating sessions with industry professionals (registration is needed to participate in this event) will be organised.
In the evening, it will be Rena Balzan’s turn to be celebrated as the winner of the 2021 National Book Prize Lifetime Achievement Award. A short documentary film will be premiered followed by a discussion with Rena moderated by Kit Azzopardi.
On Sunday 27 November the authors and translators of Mikelin and Noè, lo scoiattolo giocherellone (Verbavolant), published in Maltese by Merlin Publishers, will be present at a book launch organised with Istituto Italiano di Cultura, La Valletta.
From Illustration to Book Exhibition
The exhibition From Illustration to Book, a collaboration between Arts Council Malta and the NBC, will take centre stage together with the exhibitors’ stands. It will showcase contemporary book illustrations and designs; selected works from the Malta Illustration Annual 2022 published by the Malta Community of Illustrators; earlier designs by Maltese personalities Trevor Żahra, Mario Azzopardi and Joe Sacco; illustrations of characters that marked the childhood of most Maltese children, namely Kunċett u Marinton, Fra Mudest, Il-Qtates ta’ max-xatt (Merlin Publishers), and Ir-Ronnie; and a special selection of books designed and illustrated by Malta’s leading twentieth century artists.
The National Book Council will be ensuring that, besides ample parking space at the MFCC north entrance, everyone can reach the Festival by public transport thanks to enhanced bus routes offered by Malta Public Transport. A shuttle service from Valletta will be available, while the current routes leading to Ta’ Qali will be increased in frequency from Wednesday to Sunday.
The Malta Book Festival runs between 23-27 November at the following opening hours: on Wednesday and Thursday from 9am-1pm and 5:30pm-9pm; on Friday from 9am-1pm and 5:30pm-10pm; on Saturday from 9:30am-10pm, and on Sunday from 9:30am-8pm.
The full programme of events for the 2022 Malta Book Festival is available online here. For the latest updates, please follow the NBC website, and the NBC Facebook page and Malta Book Festival 2022 Facebook event page.