The Malta Independent 26 June 2022, Sunday

Malta Mediterranean Literature Festival next week

Monday, 21 August 2017, 12:20 Last update: about 6 years ago

The XII edition of the Malta Mediterranean Literature Festival organized by Inizjamed will be held on Thursday 24, Friday 25 and Saturday 26 August, at Fort St Elmo, in Valletta, at 8pm.

The pre-Festival events start today, 20 August. Entrance to all events is free.

Twelve writers from nine countries are reading at the festival, which also features Maltese and foreign poetry films, Maltese jazz bands, a book stall, a book binding stand by Kotba Calleja, drinks and a selection of food provided by Migrant Women Association Malta.


The authors participating in this 12th edition are Asja Bakić (Bosnia Herzegovina), Mourid  Barghouti (Palestine), Lilia Ben Romdhane (Tunisia), Jean Portante (Luxembourg), Zoë Skoulding (Wales), Ma Thida (Myanmar), Arvis Viguls (Latvia), Gjoko Zdraveski (Republic of Macedonia), and John Aquilina, Mark Camilleri, Immanuel Mifsud, and Alfred Sant from Malta.

Readings will be mostly in Maltese and English, but some short works will also be read in their original language. Some of the literature read during the festival might require an adult audience.

This year's festival is part of a three-year Cultural Partnership Agreement between Inizjamed and Arts Council Malta. This is an important agreement because it offers concrete support in terms of training and financial resources to three editions of this independent festival and allows Inizjamed to plan ahead with peace of mind. The Festival is also part of the Literary Europe Live platform funded by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union and managed by Literature Across Frontiers.


Thursday 24 August 

The writers reading on Thursday 24 August are the Maltese poet based in London, John Aquilina, whose debut book of poetry won the National Book Prize; Tunisian poet and performer Lilia Ben Romdhane who writes in the Tunisian dialect; poet Gjoko Zdraveski from the Republic of Macedonia; and Maltese novelist Alfred Sant, who will be interviewed by writer and translator Mark Vella.

This first evening features the premiere of one of two Maltese poetry films commissioned by Valletta 2018 Foundation and Inizjamed and introduced by film director and lecturer Kenneth Scicluna. The film of Maria Grech Ganado's poem "Relazzjoni" is by Nicky Aquilina and Lyanne Mifsud.

Live music on Thursday will be provided by the internationally renowned jazz guitarist and artistic director of the Malta Jazz Festival, Sandro Zerafa, accompanied on the bass by Oliver Degabriele.


Friday 25 August

On Friday 25 August, the writers invited to read are Maltese crime novelist Mark Camilleri; the French-language poet and novelist from Luxembourg Jean Portante; the Bosnian poet and short story writer Asja Bakić; and the celebrated Palestinian writer Mourid Barghouti, author of poetry and prose, including the memoir I Saw Ramallah, who will be interviewed by Norbert Bugeja.

This second night features the premiere of the poetry film of Victor Fenech's work "Fuq Għoljiet Dingli" by artist and academic Trevor Borg, which will also be introduced by Kenneth Scicluna. Live music on Friday will be provided by the duo made up of John Bartolo on drums and Jimmy Bartolo, who plays on Brikkuni's latest album, on guitar.

During the readings on Friday (8pm - 11pm), children are being invited to attend an open workshop in Maltese and English on story writing and building papier-mâché models for festivals and other outdoor activities. This parallel event, which is part of the Oħloq Kultura programme, is being organized by More or Less Theatre in collaboration with the Valletta 2018 Foundation. Parents who would like to enrol their children for this workshop are to write to [email protected], indicating what time they will be attending.


Saturday 26 August

The writers reading on Saturday 26th August are Welsh poet Zoë Skoulding; renowned Maltese poet and novelist Immanuel Mifsud; Latvian poet Arvis Viguls; and Burmese prose writer and political activist Ma Thida, who will be interviewed by writer Clare Azzopardi. Her most recent book, the prison memoir Sanchaung, Insein, Harvard was published in English worldwide with the title, Prisoner of Conscience: My Steps through Insein in 2016 (Silkworm, Thailand). 

This third and final evening also features the screening of "Off the Trail" (2015) by Jacob Cartwright and Nick Jordan, winner of the 2016 ZEBRA Prize for the Best Poetry Film, donated by the Haus für Poesie. The film is based on the poem "Endless streams and mountains" by Gary Snyder and will be introduced by Noel Tanti. Live music will be provided by John Bartolo on drums and Jimmy Bartolo on guitar.


Pre-Festival Events

The writers will be in Malta throughout the week of the festival to take part in the Malta LAF Literary Translation Workshop led by Keith Borg and Nadia Mifsud. They will be translating each other's works, and reading some of these translations during the festival.

The pre-Festival events featuring the invited authors and festival organizers from the Literary Europe Live platform are being held on Sunday 20th August, Tuesday 22th, and Wednesday 23th, all starting at 8pm. There are also two events at Fort St Elmo that start at 7pm on Friday 25 and Saturday 26.

On Sunday 20 August, at 8pm at Blitz, 68 Triq Santa Luċija, Valletta, journalist Ramona Depares will moderate a roundtable discussion in English about "High Literature / Pop Culture," with the participation of writers Immanuel Mifsud, Arvis Viguls and Asja Bakić.

On Tuesday 22 August at 8pm, poet Antoine Cassar will be interviewing poets and performers Lilia Ben Romdhane, Zoë Skoulding and Gjoko Zdraveski in English about "Poetry as Public Space", at the Malta School of Art, Casa Brunet, 106, Old Bakery Street, Valletta VLT 1458.

Wednesday 23 August at 8pm, Inizjamed presents a special festival edition of its monthly multilingual Open Mic (Palk Ħieles) sessions coordinated by Jean Paul Borg, at Maori Bar, Triq il-Lanċa, Valletta. Writers and singer-songwriters are welcome to present their work.

On Friday 25 and Saturday 26, at 7pm at Fort St Elmo, before the start of the festival evenings, Inizjamed and LEuL present two special events. On Friday, two Portuguese publishing consultants from Booktailors, Luis Coimbra and Paolo Ferreira, will give a presentation about promoting writers and works called "The Double Agent: Literature for Sale".

On Saturday 26 at 7pm, again at Fort St Elmo, the Festival is hosting a session called "Speed Dating: Face to face with Literatures in Europe", in which representatives from European literary organizations and institutions have five minutes to share information about opportunities in the field of literature and publishing with those who visit their stand. After the bell rings, the audience has to move to a different stand. The representatives from Literary Europe Live taking part in this session are Alexandra Büchler and Sian Williams from Literature Across Frontiers and Literary Europe Live; Mika Buljević from Kulturtreger|Booksa, Zagreb; Juta Pīrāga from the International Writers and Translators House, Latvia; and Judit Böröcz from the Petöfi Literary Museum, Budapest.

In the weeks leading up to the Festival, other literary events involving the invited Maltese writers are being held, including an Open Mic session in Qala Gozo, in the San Vinċenz de Paul Residence and in a summer school.

The 2017 edition of the Malta Mediterranean Literature Festival and the Malta LAF translation workshop are being held in partnership with Arts Council Malta and Literature Across Frontiers, and with the support of Valletta 2018 Foundation, Heritage Malta, Għaqda tal-Malti - Università, the volunteers of Tal-Kultura, and Studio Solipsis. The MMLF is the recipient of the EFFE, Europe for Festivals, Festivals for Europe label.

The new Festival logo and other promotional material were designed by artist Pierre Portelli.

More information is available on Facebook on pages of Inizjamed and the Malta Mediterranean Literature Festival 2017 and at

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