The yearly Malta Book Festival is perhaps the most important literary event within our islands. Previously known as ‘the Book Fair’, this event was re-named a ‘Book Festival’ three years ago, in an effort to change its image from a purely commercial one, to one emphasizing a marked education and cultural content.
During this event, local publishers, authors, bookstores and other entities related to the literary world have to opportunity to get under one roof and showcase their new material. It is also a great opportunity for newly published, as well as more experienced writers to relate and tackle important themes during this social event.
This year, the Malta Book Festival will be taking place between the 9th and the 13th of November at the Mediterranean Conference Centre in Valletta, and will be focussing on two very important conferences. The first one will open on the first day of the festival, that is, Wednesday 9th November, and is entitled ‘Literature and Totalitarianism’, when journalist Jurgen Balzan will be chairing the discussion between four special guests; Bulgarian writer Alek Popov, British academic and poet Prof. Patrick McGuinness, Egyptian novelist and human rights activist Basma Abdel Aziz, and Maltese poet and writer Immanuel Mifsud. All of these academics will also be taking part in particular events related to their work and studies during the Book Festival. The second conference, titled ‘Books and Literacy: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow’, will see the collaboration of the National Book Council, the Department of Library and Archives Studies at the University of Malta, and Malta Libraries in their dialogue exploring the relationship between books and literacy.
It is important to note that although this is a national event, international dialogue is a very important factor. This is why in fact this year there will also be several Sicilian Publishers taking part, as well as book presentations and discussions with Italian authors, a stand curated by the French Embassy in Malta, as well as events organised in conjunction with the Spanish Department at the University of Malta and the Spanish Embassy.
One of the highlights of this year’s festival will undoubtedly revolve around the evening dedicated to Maria Grech Ganado, the winner of last year’s Lifetime Achievement Award. This will take place on Friday 11th November when the poetess will be interviewed, as well as be available for a meet and greet with fans, and book signings. One must also point out that Ms Grech Ganado was the first woman ever to be appointed a lecturer at the University of Malta, therefore she has definitely reached more than one milestone!
The event will also serve as the perfect launching pad for a number of new books and authors, as well as creating a link between readers and writers, since book-lovers will be able to meet a number of authors as well as attend book signings. There will also be a number of activities for children, especially on Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th during the morning.
The Malta National Book Festival will be open to the public morning and evenings between 9am and 01.00pm, and between 05.30pm and 09.30pm, and all day on both Saturday and Sunday, between 9.30am till late. Members of the public will have the opportunity not only to enrich themselves culturally, but also to visit the historic baroque halls used by the Order of the Knights of Saint John, within the Mediterranean Conference Centre. Entrance and attendance to all events are free of charge.
Do not miss it!
Those interested may download a copy of the official 5-day programme of events from this link.