The XIth edition of the Malta Mediterranean Literature Festival organized by Inizjamed will be held on Thursday 25th, Friday 26th and Saturday 27th August, at Fort St Elmo, in Valletta, at 8.00pm. Twelve writers from eight countries are reading in the festival, which also features Maltese and foreign poetry films, two Maltese jazz bands, a book stall, a book binding stand, drinks and food by Ġugar. Entrance to all events is free.
The authors participating in this XIth edition are Samantha Barendson (France), Roja Chamankar (Iran), the Cuban-born Rodolfo Häsler who lives in Barcelona, Elias Khoury (Lebanon), Ciwanmerd Kulek (Kurdistan/Turkey), Marc Nair (Singapore), Abderrahim Sail (Morocco), and Joe P. Galea, Daniel Massa, Rita Saliba, Mark Vella, and Abigail Ardelle Zammit from Malta.
Readings will be mostly in Maltese and English, but some works will also be read in their original language
The Festival Programme
Daniel Massa (timesofmalta.com)
The writers reading on Thursday 25th August are the Maltese novelist Mark Vella, the writer from Kurdistan/Turkey Ciwanmerd Kulek, the Maltese poet Joe P. Galea, and the acclaimed Iranian poet Roja Chamankar who will also be interviewed on stage in English by Nadia Mifsud. The first night of the festival will feature the premiere of a short film by Martin Bonnici commissioned by Inizjamed and the Valletta 2018 Foundation inspired by a poem by Lillian Sciberras, “Meta tiġi MariRos”. Live jazz music will be provided by Effie Azzopardi (trumpet), Rafel Grima (drums), David Grech (guitar), and Samwel Grima (double bass).
On Friday 26th August, the writers invited to read are the English-language poet from Malta, Abigail Ardelle Zammit, whose second collection has recently been published in the UK; the acclaimed Cuban poet based in Barcelona, Rodolfo Häsler; the Moroccan poet Abderrahim Sail; and the established, bilingual Maltese poet Daniel Massa, who will read his poetry mostly in Maltese and will be interviewed in English by Kenneth Wain.
This second night features a special poetry and music performance by Marc Nair from Singapore and international poetry films from Highlight Arts and Oslo Internasjonale Poesifestival. These are “Pipene / The Pipes,” a Norwegian film by Kristian Pedersen of a poem by Øyvind Rimbereid that will be introduced on stage by Birgit Hatlehol of Oslo internasjonale poesifestival, and two films by Yasmin Fedda, introduced by Caldon Mercieca: “A Ghazal for the Tethered Goats“, a poem by Kei Miller, and “A Letter to My Mother in the Year 1980” a poem by Miriam al Attar (trans. Nia Davies).
The writers reading on Saturday 27th August are the Maltese novelist and short story writer Rita Saliba, French performance poet Samantha Barendson; and the world famous Lebanese novelist Elias Khoury who will also be interviewed in English by Norbert Bugeja.
This third and final night of the festival will feature the premiere of another short film commissioned by Inizjamed and the Valletta 2018 Foundation after a rigorous selection process, LOML by Gilbert Calleja u Matthew Attard. This short film is inspired by
Ray Mahoney’s poem “Tibqa’ Int”. All films will be introduced by Caldon Mercieca. Live jazz music on Saturday will be provided by Mużika: Francesca Galea (voice) and Kris Spiteri (piano).
Some of the literature read during the festival might require an adult audience.
Three pre-Festival events
As part of the run-up to the Festival, Inizjamed is presenting four special events. These events are free and everyone is welcome to attend.
The first two are being held in collaboration with Spazju Kreattiv, the creativity centre on Castille Place at the entrance to Valletta. On Sunday 21 August, at 8.00pm, Spazju Kreattiv is hosting “Rodolfo Häsler: Leaning against the Edge.” The Cuban writer will be interviewed in English by Jean Paul Borg.
On Tuesday 23rd August at 8.00pm, Spazju Kreattiv is hosting “Marc Nair: Busy Telling Stories”, who is being interviewed by sociologist Anna Zammit.
On Wednesday 24th August, Inizjamed presents another of its open mic poetry sessions, with the participation of festival organizers who are also writers and who will be in Malta for the Festival. One of these writers reading in this session is writer Jennifer Williams of the Scottish Poetry Library. This will be held at the Maori bar, Triq il-Lanċa, on the Valletta sea front.
On Friday 26th August at 7.00pm, before the start of the second night of the Festival at Fort St Elmo, Literature Across Frontiers will launch the Kurdish Literature Website, an event chaired by the director of LAF, Alexandra Büchler, in the Chapel of the Piazza d’Armi. The launch features the participation of the writer from Kurdistan/Turkey Cinwanmerd Kulek, Ezel Yilmaz (Diyarbakir Arts Centre), and Monique Agius.
Translating Each Other’s Work
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 festival and literary translation workshop are part of the Literary Europe Live platform co-funded by Creative Europe of the EU. This project is being coordinated by Literature Across Frontiers, which has played a crucial role in the setting up and development of this annual literary event. A number of festival organisers and partners with Inizjamed in Literary Europe Live are coming to Malta to attend this year’s edition of the Festival.
The 2016 edition of the Malta Mediterranean Literature Festival and the Malta LAF translation workshop are being held with the support of Arts Council Malta, Heritage Malta, Valletta 2018 Foundation, Għaqda tal-Malti – Università, the Fortress Builders – Fortifications Interpretation Centre, Spazju Kreattiv, and Highlight Arts. The MMLF is the recipient of the EFFE Europe for Festivals, Festivals for Europe label.
The Festival is on Facebook and at inizjamedmalta.wordpress.com.