The Malta Book Festival has now established itself as the most prestigious event in Malta revolving around books. It will open its doors to the public tomorrow, Wednesday 6 November, and will be on until Sunday 10 November. This evening, during the Book Festival opening ceremony, the 2019 Terramaxka Prize winners will be awarded.
Hereunder you can find information about activities which one can find in the programme of cultural events of the Festival, which can be dowloaded here.
The programme of activities for school children will be based on the Terramaxka winners of last year. The school visits have been planned in such a way as to serve as a reading experience for children and the shows are targeted to provide age-appropriate performances. A group of actors led by Antonella Axisa will adapt Mamà allura din imħabba? by Moira Scicluna Zahra and Mark Scicluna for primary school students and Jarmuk by Steven Lughermo for secondary school students.
The shows Il-Kotba Jieħdu l-Ħajja by the popular comic duo DANUSAN will be based on this year’s Terramaxka winning titles. The shows will be held in Republic Hall on Friday at 7 pm, Saturday at 8 pm and Sunday at 3 pm. Get a 3€ voucher upon presentation of your ticket at the doors, which can be spent from the exhibitors at the Festival.
The highlight of the first day of the Festival is the main conference organised by the National Book Council revolving around the theme of sci-fi and fantasy literature. The conference, Strange New Worlds, will bring together the international guests of this year’s Festival who have made a name for themselves in sci-fi and fantasy literature: Loranne Vella (Malta), Jon Courtenay Grimwood (UK), Dave Rudden (Ireland) and Kali Wallace (US). The discussion will tackle the main tenets of the genre, the creation of unreal worlds which leads us back to the real world and the literariness of the genre in contrast with ‘high literature’ in a simplistic term. Mark-Anthony Fenech, a Maltese writer of sci-fi literature, will moderate the discussion, which starts at 7 pm in Theatre Hall.
During the day there will be more activities targeted at children. At 10 am a series of language games will take place at the German-Maltese and the Department of German stand, and readings from Czech and Slovak literature at the Milan Haluska stand. The Ministry of Transport will launch a book about the Triton Fountain at 5.30 pm in Theatre Hall. An hour later in Activity Area La Valette the Għaqda tal-Malti – Università will deliver a talk on queer in Maltese literature. You may also choose to pop by at a Chinese tea ceremony at 6.30 pm on the Foreign Languages Learning stand.
On Thursday 7 November, the first international guests will start to make their individual appearance. At 11 am Judge Rosemarie Aquilina, the Festival’s special guest, will conduct a seminar with University students will include distinguished panelists of the likes of Dr. Marceline Naudi from the Department of Gender Studies, Dr. Ruth Farrugia from the Faculty of Law and Dr. Lara Dimitrijevic from the Women’s Rights Foundation. At 6 pm in Theatre Hall Teodor Reljić will interview Kali Wallace about her prolific production of fantasy literature and the dynamics of genre fiction and publishing. At the same time the National Literacy Agency will award children who are ardent readers or have helped others to read during Reading Champions in Activity Area La Valette. The third International guest will make his appearance on the day at 7 pm in Theatre Hall. Dave Rudden will be interviewed by Robert Pisani about his appearances in schools all around the world discussing the hidden author in us, even as a young student. The day closes off with an interview by Times of Malta Editor in Chief Herman Grech with special guest Judge Rosemarie Aquilina, focusing on her legal career, the Malta connection and the inspiration behind her crime fiction.
On Friday at 11 am Vassalli Hall will host a seminar on translating minority language literature, with the participation of academic and translator Prof. Clare Vassallo; the founder of Irish indie publishing house Sarah Davis-Goff; and National Book Prize winner Alex Vella Gera (Is-Sriep Reġgħu Saru Velenużi). At 7 pm the public will have the chance to meet Loranne Vella, who will be interviewed by Maltese-Palestinian author and translator Walid Nabhan on her multidisciplinary career and her books, including Rokit – last year’s winner of the National Book Prize for novels. In tandem with the Spanish Embassy, the NBC is organising a talk about historical fiction with the participation of Spanish writer Jorge Molist, Jon Courtenay Grimwood and Alfred Sant. The historian Vincent Zammit will lead the discussion at 7.30 pm in Activity Area La Valette. At 8 pm in Theatre Hall the award-giving ceremony for the first edition of the Doreen Micallef National Poetry contest will be held, and the next year’s edition will be launched.
The weekend at the Malta Book Festival starts with a jam-packed Saturday. At 10 am and 11 am the National Literacy Agency will hold two sessions of animated readings, one for toddlers up to 3 years of age in English and another one for kids from 4 to 7 years in Maltese in Activity Area La Valette. During the day, Faraxa Publishing is organising different book reading and creativity sessions in collaboration with Żebbuġ Learning Studio, and Merlin Publishers will launch various books for children. At 7 pm Klabb Kotba Maltin will present its publications during the year regarding the riots of Sette Giugno, in Theatre Hall, and at 7.30 pm Horizons will present new books by Lou Drofenik and John P. Portelli in David Bruce Hall. Finally, the most awaited event of the day is the audiovisual night premiering productions commissioned by the NBC. There will be the premiere of Ġulina, winner of the Malta Literary Short-Film Contest, which is based on Alfred Sant’s short story. The first episode from a series of docudrama will also be shown; this is part of Storja ta’ Storja, produced by the winners of the NBC Docudrama Series 2019. At the end of the event, the winner of the NBC Film Adaptation Fund will be also be announced.
During the morning and afternoon of Sunday 10 November, the last day of the Festival, there will be plenty of book launches and animated readings for children, and the public will also have the chance to meet authors specialising in children’s literature at the Faraxa Publishing, Merlin, Octavo and BDL’s stands. At 5 pm in Theatre Hall the NBC will celebrate Lillian Sciberras, the recipient of the 2018 National Book Prize Lifetime Achievement Award. The event will showcase Lillian’s contribution both to the literary scene and to professional librarianship in Malta. Later on Maltese-Palestinian author Walid Nabhan will launch a new collection of short stories at 7pm at Activity Area La Valette.
New to this year’s edition, the public will be able to visit the Malta Book Festival hassle free on all days of the Festival by making use of a free-of-charge shuttle service to and from Bay A, Bus Terminus, Valletta. The service will run every half an hour and is being sponsored by Malta Public Transport.
Members of the public are urged to follow the Council’s website (www.ktieb.org.mt) and FB page (National Book Council Malta) for updates and more details of the events, as well as the festival’s opening hours.