The opening conference of the Malta Book Festival has been a permanent feature of the Festival ever since its re-branding in 2013. This year’s conference will be themed on ‘Literature in Diaspora’ and will take place on 7 November 2018 at Sir Temi Zammit Hall (MCC), starting 7pm. The participants are Lou Drofenik, the Australian Maltese author who was awarded last year’s National Book Prize for her novel The Confectioner’s Daughter, Caboverdian author, poet, essayist and human rights activist Vera Duarte, Irish author and translator Philip O’Ceallaigh and Croatian writer, poet and scholar Nikola Petković.

The discussion, moderated by local author and journalist Teodor Reljic, will explore the literary legacy of diaspora communities across different cultures. The discussion will also touch upon the impact of translocation as experienced by and reflected in the works of the authors participating in the conference. Members of the audience will have the opportunity to contribute to the discussion through questions and remarks.

As usual, all the authors participating in the conference will be appearing in other activities during the Festival as special guests. One such event will be dedicated to the life and artistic career of Lou Drofenik and will feature an interview with Times of Malta journalist Ramona Depares, a Q&A session with members of the audience and book-signing at the Horizons stand.

Another special guest of the Festival, British author and critic Michael Amherst, will be appearing in an event set up by the National Book Council in collaboration with MGRM, Malta’s LGBTIQ rights movement. Michael Amherst will be talking about Truth, Bisexuality and Desire, which he explores in his book Go the Way your Blood Beats. Amherst campaigns on the issue of sexual assault in prison, working with Just Detention International and the Howard League’s Independent Commission on Sex in Prisons.

The topic of literary translation will feature prominently in this year’s edition with a translation seminar with Prof. Clare Vassallo and Tim Parks, the renowned author of Teach us to Sit Still and The Server, on Friday 9 November at 6:30pm. In a separate activity, Tim Parks will be talking to Ivan Callus about his work in fiction and nonfiction literature.

The winning project of the Malta Literary Short Film Contest 2018 was ‘Camilla’, a proposal by the film company Shadeena to adapt a short story of the same title by Clare Azzopardi into film. The film, which is currently in its production phase, will have its premiere screening during the Festival as part of an event which will also feature a discussion about film adaptation with the director, Stephanie Sant, and the author Clare Azzopardi. This event will be held on Saturday 10 November, starting 8:30 hours.

The full programme of events with all the activities will be issued in the next few weeks. In the meantime, members of the public are urged to follow the Council’s website or FB page  for more updates and details of events.

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