The Malta Independent 26 February 2024, Monday
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Campus Book Festival 2020: Programme of events

Sunday, 16 February 2020, 14:22 Last update: about 5 years ago

The National Book Council is pleased to release the programme of cultural events for the Campus Book Festival. As customary, the festival will take place at the University Quadrangle on 25, 26 and 27 March, from 9am to 4pm on Wednesday, 25 and Thursday, 26 and from 9am till late on Friday 27 March.

The purpose of the Campus Book Festival is to promote literature across the board while, at the same time, give publishers and book distributors a space where they can sell and promote their publications with a mature audience, such as post-secondary and tertiary students. The exhibitors in this edition are BDL, Merlin Publishers, Midsea Books/Klabb Kotba Maltin, Horizons, EDE Books, SKS, Faraxa Publishing, Pjattaforma and Infinity Books.


This year's programme is packed with a variety of events and activities ranging from readings and interviews with authors, to the screening of films related to literature, as well as language discussions and activities, guided tours around the University Library, live music and a number of collaborations with student organisations Għaqda tal-Malti - Università and Desa.

The international guest for this year is American poet and memoirist Mark Doty. On Wednesday, 25 March at 3pm, Doty will be part of a panel discussion on queer literature with local dramatist Tyrone Grima and Marthese Formosa, project manager behind Kitba Queer.

On Thursday, 26 March Doty will be participating in a book-club session with University students led by Dr Mario Aquilina and centred on his memoir Firebird (HarperCollins, 1999). On Friday, 27 March he will be interviewed by the head of the English Department at UoM Prof. James Corby on his literary and non-literary output. Doty will also be one of the readers during the open-mic session organised for the same day and revolving around the theme of literature and music of protest. This was organised in conjunction with Inizjamed. Doty was the first American to win the T.S. Eliot Prize in the UK in 1995 and in 2008 he won the National Book award for the book Fire to Fire: new and selected poems (HarperCollins, 2008). He is the author of several poetry books, among which Bethlehem in broad daylight (D.R. Godine, 1991), A Swarm, A Flock, A Host: A compendium of creatures (Prestel, 2013), and Deep lane (W.W. Norton, 2015), and memoirs and nonfiction books such as Still life with oysters and lemon: On objects and intimacy (Beacon Press, 2000) and Dog years (HarperCollins, 2007), as well as Firebird. Doty has often been compared to James Merrill, Walt Whitman and C.P. Cavafy for his elegant, intelligent verse.

In collaboration with the Department of Translation, Terminology and Interpreting Studies, the Campus Book Festival 2020 will also host an interview led by Prof. Clare Vassallo with translation theorist and scholar of comparative literature Prof. Susan Bassnett. Bassnett is the author of over 20 books, including Translation Studies, which first appeared in 1980 and has remained in print ever since, becoming an important international textbook in this field. Her Comparative Literature (1993) has also become internationally-renowned and has been translated into several languages. Her most recent books are Political Discourse, Media and Translation (2010), co-edited with Cristina Schaeffner and Reflections on Translation (2011). Beside her academic research, and writing for several national newspapers, Bassnett also writes poetry.

The vast programme of activities include events organised in collaboration with many University departments as well as the publishers participating in this year's Campus Book Festival as exhibitors. These include the presentation of Prof. Joseph M. Pirotta's 2019 National Book prize-winning book Fortress colony; The Final Act 1945-1964 (Midsea); Prof. Charles Briffa's latest book on Mario Azzopardi published by Horizons and the official launch of Bil-Bieb mitbuq (Pjattaforma, 2020), Kevin Saliba's Maltese translation of Jean-Paul Sartre's play Huis Clos. Infinity Books also organised a lecture with Fr Marius Zerafa on the theft, recovery and restoration of Caravaggio's St Jerome Writing.

On Friday, 26 March at 5pm Jean Paul Borg will moderate a roundtable discussion on literature and music of protest in troubled times, with reference to the most recent contributions of local artists and writers: Immanuel Mifsud, Antoine Cassar, Adrian Grima, Wayne Flask, Nadia Mifsud, Mario Vella, Alex Vella Gregory and Noah Fabri. They will also take part in the Open Mic session later that evening, after 6.45pm.

For the language and literature enthusiasts, not to miss are the events organised for Wednesday, 25 March, starting at 1pm: "Are we told what we should read?" a discussion about readers' favourites, reading lists, book prizes, book reviews and booktube and on how these affect readers', writers' and publishers' choices; and Maltese Literature... in English with Prof. Ivan Callus, Prof. Clare Vassallo, Dr Norbert Bugeja and moderated by Prof. Adrian Grima.

While on Thursday, 26 March at 2pm Mark Camilleri, Dr Krista Bonello Rutter Giappone and Chris Gruppetta will engage in discussion on the divide between genre fiction and literary and mainstream fiction in Malta, with a specific reference to mystery and detective fiction.

Other highlights include events revolving around film and the limits of literary adaptation, with Franica Pulis, Prof. Saviour Catania, Rebecca Anastasi and Kenneth Scicluna; ethnography, with Dr Steve Borg, Michael Pio Deguara and Michael Spiteri on Wednesday, 26 March at 11am; around anthropology and women's history with Dr Veronica Veen on Thursday, 26 March at 9am and around the revival of theatre in Maltese at 1pm on the same day with the participation of Dr Marco Galea, Sean Buhagiar, Simone Spiteri and Stephanie Bonnici.

On Friday 27 at 10am, Dr Christine Muscat, Dr Emanuel Buttigieg and Dr Andrea Dibben will discuss if prostitution can empower women, moving away from any dogmatic assumptions on sex as an economic means; while at 1pm a discussion among Ranier Fsadni, Ahmed Zanya Bugri and Andrè Callus will look at how identity politics shapes active participation by minorities living in Malta, asking if this political approach can actually be traceable in a context where minorities are underrepresented.

For those interested in philosophy, two events are not to be missed. On Friday, 26 March at 12 noon, the Department of Philosophy will be presenting an event, moderated by Dr Jean-Paul De Lucca, revisiting philosophy's plural histories and its forgotten voices, 50 years from the death of Bertrand Russel, the author of the influential A History of Western Philosophy (1945). On the same day, at 3pm, Francois Zammit will engage Enrico Panai in a conversation on the application of philosophy to address present day challenges. Panai is a Human Information Interaction specialist and author of Skip! The Art of Avoiding Projects.

The Campus Book Festival, which is set up by the National Book Council in collaboration with Għaqda tal-Malti - Università and Desa, is free of charge and all discussions, presentations, interviews, book launches and book presentations are aimed at students, academics and members of the public alike.

Feel free to write to get in touch with Matthew Borg on [email protected] from the NBC; Romario Sciberras on [email protected] from Għaqda tal-Malti - Università, and Matthew Cilia on [email protected] from Desa.

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