The second and last day of the Summer Book Festival, 15 July, will be a day dedicated to poetry in honour of the late Gozitan poet Ġorġ Pisani. Among the events planned for the day, there will be reading sessions and interviews with Maltese poets. Maria Grech Ganado, winner of the 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award, will appear at 11:50 together with fellow poet Norbert Bugeja, with whom she will be talking about her poetry, her translation work and more. The talk will be punctuated with readings of her work by the poet herself.
Born in 1943, Maria Grech Ganado came late to creative writing. She published her first collection in 1999, when she was already 56 years old, thanks to the encouragement of Marlene Saliba, who had shown some of her early poems to Peter Serracino Inglott. He published 4 in his new anthology, Ilħna Mkissra, soon to be followed by publications in Oliver Friggieri’s Il-Poeżija Maltija.
She has published a number of collections of Maltese poetry, Iżda Mhux Biss,1999 (a National Book Prize winner); Skond Eva, 2001; Fil-Ħofra Bejn Spallejha, 2005; Maria Grech Ganado: Monografija, 2010; Taħt il-Kpiepel t’Għajnejja, 2014 (a National Book Prize winner), and three of English, Ribcage, 2003, Cracked Canvas, 2005 (a National Book Prize winner); Memory Rape, 2005. Many of her poems form part of the secondary and tertiary Maltese curricula and, to date, 4 dissertations at B.A. and M.A. level have been written about various aspects of her work. Her first National award of an M.Q.R medal in 2000, however, was not strictly for her writing, but more for her academic achievements, especially those of her being the first Maltese girl to get into Girton College, Cambridge, get her Cantab. degree, and subsequently become the first Maltese woman to take up the post of a full-time Lecturer in English at the University of Malta.
The poet has been invited to many literary events in different countries and, in 2005, co-organised an international conference in Malta with LAF (Literature Across Frontiers) and the NGO, Inizjamed. She has played a significant role in LAF’s collaboration with Inizjamed, especially in setting up the very successful annual Mediterranean Literary Festival. In 2015, Ganado won a special National Book Council award for her contribution to Maltese Literature, The Lifetime Achievement Award, especially because of the number of translations into English she had done for other writers before an actual degree in translation or remuneration became mandatory.
Visitors to the Festival will have the opportunity to learn more about the poet and her life, and to listen to some of her best poetry, read by the poet herself.