The Malta Independent 23 June 2021, Wednesday

World acclaimed author Salman Rushdie special guest of 2020 ‘virtual’ Malta Book Festival

Giulia Magri Tuesday, 29 September 2020, 14:07 Last update: about 10 months ago

International literature Salman Rushdie is the special guest of the 2020 Malta Book Festival, the National Book Council announced on Tuesday.

“A brilliant provocateur, Rushdie has penned a handful of classic novels, influenced a generation of writers, and received a Queen’s Knighthood for his “service to literature.” He stands as both a pop culture icon and one of the most though-provoking proponents for free speech today,” read the National Book Council’s announcement on Facebook.


Rushdie, an Indian novelist, is well known for his works which combine magical realism with historical fiction and most of his works are set on the Indian subcontinent. His most well-known work is ‘Midnight’s Children’ which for he won the prestigious Booker Prize in 1981, and later, the Best of the Booker.

His other works ‘The Satanic Verses’, “The Moor’s Last Sigh’, ‘The Ground Beneath Her Feet’ and his latest work, ‘Quichotte’, have also been highly received by readers and critics.

Rushdie is also author of bestselling memoir ‘Joseph Anton’. His ‘Luka and the Fire of Life’ is a children’s novel and a companion to ‘Haroun and the Sea of Stories’. His recent novel ‘Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights’ was a ‘New York Times’ bestseller, as was his other work ‘The Golden House’.

Rushdie will be interviewed by a former Prime Minister Alfred Sant, who has authored a number of published works from novels, short stories and plays.  Sant sits as a Member of the European Parliament.

On five different occasions and in different categories he’s been the most recipient of the National Book Prize, and most recently the 2019 National Book Prize Lifetime Achievement Award.

Sant’s first novel was published when he was only 19 years old, ‘L-Ewwel Weraq tal-Bajtar’ and is a watershed moment in the development of the Maltese literature, announcing the advent of the contemporary novel. Silg fuq Kemmuna, and La Bidu, La Tmien-1599, are other novels which are praised greatly.

Sant is also a renowned playwright, with the satirical Balzunetta Towers, as his most recent work in the genre. This took on Malta’s construction obsessed mind-set and the power of money over the political class, and was performed as part of the Valletta 2018 European Capital of Culture programme.

The discussion, which will be shedding light on the achievements, influences and current preoccupations of these two great writers and their respective cultural milieu, will be moderated by Prof Clare E Vassallo, Associate Professor of Semiotics and Translation Studies at the University of Malta, and streamed online on Wednesday 11 November at 7pm.

The following day, Sir Salman Rushdie will also be directly engaging with students and readers from the general public in the form of a digital Q&A. To better preserve the spirit of a direct exchange, the number of spaces is being limited to 40 audience members. Participants interested in booking a place at the Q&A are invited to submit the one question they would like to ask the Booker Prize winning author – the more fascinating the question, the better the chances of securing a place. Questions should be submitted by email to [email protected] by 31 October 2020 with the subject line ‘MBF2020 Q&A’ and include name and surname. The Q&A with Sir Salman Rushdie is being organised in collaboration with the Department of English, University of Malta.

The full programme of events for the 2020 Malta Book Festival – the virtual edition (11-15 November) will be published in the coming weeks. For the latest updates, please follow this website and the NBC’s Facebook page.


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