The Malta Book Festival will take place at the Mediterranean Conference Centre (MCC) in Valletta from 8 till 12 November and will be open to the public morning and evenings, including all day on both Saturday and Sunday. The aims of the Festival are to promote reading and literacy, promoting books as a medium of learning and enjoyment, engaging the public in intelligent discussion with writers and experts in various areas of study and academic interest, creating fun activities for both the young and the old, and giving a space for publishers and other cultural agents to present their work to the public.
The Festival will be inaugurated on Tuesday 7 with the Terramaxka National Book Prize for Children’s Books. On Wednesday 8, the Festival will open for the public with a conference on the Definition of Truth in Fiction and Non-Fiction with the participation of some of this year’s special guests: Rosie Goldsmith, the renowned BBC journalist, the US born and UK raised novelist and poet Ros Barber, French novelist Gilbert Sinoué, Kuwaiti poet Shahd Al Shammari and local author Alex Vella Gera. Another special guest for this year is Ahmad Said Abdel Moneim, a renowned Arab publisher who will be giving a talk on subversive literature in the Arab world.
As is now customary, there will be an event to honour last year’s winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award. Author, poet and playwright Mario Azzopardi was awarded the 2016 prize for his extensive contribution to local literature and culture not just as a writer but also for his work in the fields of cultural journalism and literary criticism. The event will feature a short film on Azzopardi, an interview with the personality and readings of excerpts from some of his important works. This event will take place on Friday, which will be the Festival’s Poetry Day.
As usual, the festival will also include a thematic exhibition, to be housed within the Perello’s Suite of the Mediterranean Conference Centre. A selection of original artworks in different media, inspired by works of Maltese literature will be open to the public, along with an exhibition of a number of books that were awarded prizes for book illustration and presentation in past editions of the Malta Book Prize.
Students will be attending the Festival on weekday mornings, that is on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Dramatic performances based on the winning titles of last year’s Terramaxka Book Prize will be prepared for them. In addition, there will be actors dressed up as well-known literary figures who will interact with the young visitors as they guide them through the stands and different features of the festival. A 3-euro voucher will be given to every student to encourage them to buy a book for themselves.
Saturday evening closes off with a highlight event: the short film premiere in Temi Zammit Hall at MCC. This year’s winner of the NBC PBS Short Film Contest is the company Mitħolma of Charles Stroud, who will be adapting Joe Friggieri’s short story Dritt Għall-Punt from the collection of short stories Nismagħhom Jgħidu (Kite Group, 2016). The director and the renowned author of story will be present at the event and they will engage the public in a discussion on film adaptation.
In addition to the above, all the special guests to the Festival, including local author Alex Vella Gera, will be the focus of events dedicated to their work. Rosie Goldsmith will also be leading a workshop on journalism on Wednesday, which should be of immense interest to both journalists and members of the public.
This is without any doubt, the biggest celebration of the book culture on the island. Remember the dates and make sure you visit!
Wednesday 8/11 - 9:00-13:00; 17:30-21:30
Thursday 9/11 - 9:00-13:00; 17:30-21:30
Friday 10/11 - 9:00-13:00; 17:30-22:00
Saturday 11/11 - 9:30-22:30
Sunday 12/11 - 9:30-21:30