A 15-month multilateral creative writing project for emerging writers in the Mediterranean
run by Inizjamed and the British Council
The official Klandestini website is at http://klandestini.britishcouncil.org/
and when i reach port…
Pierre Portelli's Installation for Klandestini
"Anxious departures conceived in a paroxysm of febrile thought. The sleepless waves bear the boat of the Initiate to the cult of chance as the furtive thought throbs with expectation. Art stretches language to its limits and creates new possibilities even peripheral ones. The clandestine thought, like the ever shifting paper boat provides a means of fragile escape from stagnation, repression … breaking the shackles of imprisoning logical thought and going beyond that to create and transform possibilities.
and when i reach port…"
pierre portelli b.1961
Works mainly in installation art. He is also a stage designer (Malta Song for Europe 2001, 2002 and 2003), book designer and set designer for TV productions in Malta. He resided in the UK between 1977 and 1982 and studied at Swindon School of Art and Design. Active member of Contemporary art group START.
Select personal projects include and when I reach port… Installation St James Cavalier Centre for Creativity, Valletta (2004), Ropport an ongoing collaboration with American artist Ann Ropp (2002), ism at the National Museum of Fine Arts in Valletta (1999), A Happening, a collaboration with Austin Camilleri, Valletta and Victoria, Gozo (1999), What was...is, St Johns Co-Cathedral, Valletta, Breadworks, Central Connecticut State University, USA (1998) and Pierre Portelli by Marta V. Kot, a collaboration with American artist Marta V. Kot in NY, USA (1998).
Select group shows include Carosello Maltese, Cervia, Italy (2004), Love Difference Collaboration with Love Difference and Michelangelo Pistoletto at the 50th Biennale di Venezia (2003), Borders, Pinto Vaults, Valletta (2003), escape, Old Prisons, Citadel, Gozo (2003) Cityspaces, Valletta (2002), Über, Paceville (2001), Art in Malta Today, St. James Centre for Creativity, Valletta (2000).
Friday 5 to Sunday 7 November, 2004 - St. James Cavalier, Valletta, Malta
All events listed below are open to the general public. Entrance is free.
Friday, 5 November
Public Seminar on Writing and Translation
St. James Cavalier, 2.00pm - 5.30pm
Saturday, 6 November
Public Seminar on Publishing
St. James Cavalier, 9.00am - 1.00pm
Saturday, 6 November
Short Stories and Poems read by the Authors
St. James Cavalier Theatre, 8.00pm
Sunday, 7 November
Short Stories and Poems read by the Authors
St. James Cavalier Theatre, 8.00pm
Il-Festival tal-Kittieba Emerġenti fil-Mediterran marbut mal-proġett Klandestini se jsir bejn il-Ġimgħa 5 u l-Ħadd 7 ta' Novembru, 2004, fil-Kavallier ta' San Ġakbu. Fih se jieħdu sehem ma' l-għoxrin kittieba u kittieb minn Malta, l-Italja, il-Greċja, u Ċipru. Ara l-programm sħiħ.
L-attivitajiet kollha se jsiru fil-Kavallier ta’ San Ġakbu u d-dħul għalihom huwa b’xejn.
Il-Ġimgħa wara nofsinhar, bejn is-2.00pm u l-5.30pm, se
jsir seminar pubbliku dwar il-kitba tal-letteratura bil-lingwa nativa u
bl-Ingliż. Il-mistiedna speċjali se tkun
Jane Griffiths, awtriċi Olandiża
li tikteb bl-Ingliż. Se jitkellem ukoll
Norbert Bugeja li huwa wkoll
wieħed mill-kittieba Maltin magħżulin biex jaqraw ix-xogħol tagħhom
Il-kittieba kollha li se jieħdu sehem huma dawn:
Minn Ċipru: Nora Nadjarian, Jenan Selchuck, Gurgenc Korkmazel, Faize Ozdemirciler, Maria Thoma, u Christian Avraamidou.
Mill-Italja: Fed Zanatta, Marco Andreoli, Valerio Cruciani, u Alessandro Aronadio.
Mill-Greċja: Sotiris Selavis, Archontoula Alexandropoulou, Pavlina Ferfelli, u Angeliki Sigourou
Minn Malta: Clare Azzopardi, Stanley Borg, Norbert Bugeja, Priscilla Cassar, Maria Grech Ganado, u Adrian Grima.
Għal aktar tagħrif ara l-website tal-proġett Klandestini li qed jitmexxa minn Inizjamed u l-British Council bi sħab mal-Kavallier ta' San Gakbu.
Qorob il-mument li għoxrin Klandestin ieħor mill-Italja, Ċipru, Malta u l-Greċja jġibu l-problemi tagħhom f’pajjiżna. L-awturi li rikbu d-dgħajsa ta’ Klandestini se jkunu qed jaqilgħu l-inkwiet fit-Teatru tal-Kavallier ta’ San Ġakbu bejn il-Ġimgħa 5 u l-Ħadd 7 ta’ Novembru li ġej.
F’dawn it-tlett ijiem ta’ attività intensiva ser isir il-Festival tal-Kittieba Emerġenti tal-Mediterran li se jwassal il-proġett Klandestini – koordinat mill-British Council u Inizjamed tul l-aħħar sena, għall-qofol tiegħu.
Matul il-proġett Klandestini saru għadd ta' sessjonijiet ta' taħriġ għal kittieba emerġenti fil-Mediterran. F’dawn is-sessjonijiet l-awturi tħarrġu fil-kitba kreattiva bil-lingwa tagħhom u bl-Ingliż taħt il-gwida ta’ kittieba stabbiliti bbażati fir-Renju Unit, fosthom Sinéad Morrissey, Maurice Riordan u George Szirtes.
Il-parteċipanti temmew il-proċess ta’ kitba kreattiva u għażlu li jiffukaw fuq it-tema tal-"klandestini" li tissuġġerixxi stħarriġ kemm tat-tema ta' l-emigrazzjoni illegali fil-Mediterran, kif ukoll it-tema tal-kittieba emerġenti bħala klandestini.
Għall-Festival, l-aqwa xogħlijiet kienu magħżula minn persuni assenjati ma' kull grupp biex dawn jittellgħu online matul il-festival. L-awturi tagħhom ser jippreżentaw ix-xogħol tagħhom matul il-lejliet. Mill-kontinġent Malti intgħażlu x-xogħlijiet ta’ Clare Azzopardi (fir-ritratt), Stanley Borg, Norbert Bugeja, Priscilla Cassar, Maria Grech Ganado u Adrian Grima. Naturalment, min jattendi se jkollu l-opportunità li jisma’ dak li qed jinkiteb f’dan il-mument f’pajjiżna, u jkun anke jista’ jiżnu, jikkritikah u jikkomparah ma’ xogħlijiet miktuba barra minn xtutna.
Nhar il-Ġimgħa, 5 ta’ Novembru, fis-2pm jingħata bidu għal seminar miftuħ għall-pubbliku li se jittratta “Il-Kitba u t-Traduzzjoni.” Il-koordinatur tal-proġett Karsten Xuereb se jintroduċi s-sessjoni b’tagħrif dwar il-proġett Klandestini flimkien ma’ Ronnie Micallef mill-British Council, Adrian Grima minn Inizjamed, u Chris Gatt mill-Kavallier ta’ San Ġakbu.
Matul is-seminar se jinqraw żewġ papers, waħda mill-awtriċi Olandiża Jane Griffiths u l-oħra mill-awtur Malti Norbert Bugeja. Id-diskussjonijiet dwar dawn il-papers se jitmexxew minn Neil Astley, editur tad-dar tal-pubblikazzjonijiet magħrufa Ingliża Bloodaxe. Griffiths ser titkellem dwar "The tongue tied: Poetry as Translation", filwaqt li Bugeja ser jippreżenta diskors bl-isem ta’ “(Writing) In the Language of the Other.”
Fil-paper tiegħu Bugeja se jittratta l-kwistjonijiet jaħarqu li qed jgħix fihom l-awtur emerġenti llum: il-problema tal-memorja storika, ta’ l-antenat letterarju, tal-pubblikazzjoni u l-kitba fiha nfisha, il-kwistjoni tat-traduzzjoni, u fuq kollox il-kwistjoni tal-lingwa. “Letteratura Maltija bl-Ingliż. Għaliex le?” jikkummenta Bugeja. “Dan fid-dawl ta’ l-inkwiet serju li qed jiffaċċjaw l-awturi Klandestini Maltin: l-għarfien li aħna tant elokwenti fil-lingwa u l-lingwaġġ li jżommuna priġunieri. Agħar minn hekk, dan id-diskors bilkemm ma jinstemax romantiku.”
Is-Sibt imbagħad, bejn id-9.00am u l-11am se ssir diskussjoni fi grupp immexxija minn Neil Astley. Aktar tard se tinqara paper qasira ta’ l-awtriċi Griega Archontoula Alexandropoulou. Wara dawn il-Professur Joe Friggieri se jindirizza s-seminar f’isem il-Kunsill Malti għall-Arti u l-Kultura u mbagħad ikun hemm ħin għall-mistoqsijiet u d-diskussjoni. Karsten Xuereb jagħlaq is-sessjoni.
Il-Festival jilħaq il-qofol tiegħu is-Sibt u l-Ħadd flgħaxija permezz tal-qari tax-xogħlijiet ta’ l-awturi mistiedna għal dan il-Festival. Kull min jattendi żgur li se jintlaqat minn xi mument partikolari fost il-kuluri ta’ kitbiet li se jinqraw jew jiġu rreċtati fuq dawn Iż-żewġ serati. Is-Sibt ser jaqraw Priscilla Cassar, Angeliki Sigourou, Nora Nadjarian, Jenan Selchuck, Clare Azzopardi, Gurgenc Korkmazel, Marco Andreoli, Faize Ozdemirciler, Maria Thoma, Christian Avraamidou u Federico Zanatta.
Il-Ħadd 7 ta’ Novembru mbagħad ikun imiss lil Maria Grech Ganado, Archontoula Alexandropoulou, Stanley Borg, Sotiris Selavis, Alessandro Aronadio, Adrian Grima, Valerio Cruciani (fir-ritratt), Paulina Ferfelli u Norbert Bugeja.
Fost l-ismijiet tax-xogħlijiet letterarji li se jinqraw hemm Noura, A Slight Cast in the Eyes of May, The Urge, Neo 2, the heroes, I want to die naked and hungry, Għanja ta’ Arti, Distanzi, Wrong Turn, LondRome, The Silver Journey, Mist in the Village, u għadd ta’ kitbiet oħrajn.
Għal aktar tagħrif wieħed jista’ jidħol fis-sit internet ta’ Inizjamed http://inizjamed.cjb.net minn fejn ikun jista’ wkoll jidħol permezz ta’ link ifis-sit internet esklussiv tal-proġett Klandestini: http://klandestini.britishcouncil.org/
The Klandestini Festival of Emerging Mediterranean Literature will be held between Friday 5 and Sunday 7 November, 2004, at St. James Cavalier in Valletta. See the full programme.
The programme includes a seminar on publication and writing in English as a second language on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning and two different readings by writers from Italy, Cyprus, Greece and Malta on Saturday and Sunday evening at 8.00pm in the Theatre at St. James Cavalier. All events are free and the general public is welcome to attend.
The writers taking part are:
From Cyprus: Nora Nadjarian, Jenan Selchuck, Gurgenc Korkmazel, Faize Ozdemirciler, Maria Thoma, Christian Avraamidou.
From Italy: Fed Zanatta, Marco Andreoli, Valerio Cruciani, Alessandro Aronadio.
From Greece: Sotiris Selavis, Archontoula Alexandropoulou, Pavlina Ferfelli, Angeliki Sigourou
From Malta: Clare Azzopardi, Stanley Borg, Norbert Bugeja, Priscilla Cassar, Maria Grech Ganado, Adrian Grima.
To read their works and to know more about each one of these writers visit the official Klandestini website.
Friday afternoon and Saturday morning seminars
The main speakers at the Friday seminar on writing in a second language are Norbert Bugeja and Jane Griffiths. Norbert Bugeja will be reading a paper about "Writing in the Language of the Other." He was born in Siggiewi in 1980. He has a BA (Hons) in English and is currently reading for his MA at the University of Malta, dealing with contemporary post-colonial theory, current trends and its relation to new French criticism. He is currently a member of Inizjamed.
Jane Griffiths' paper is called, "The tongue tied: Poetry as Translation." She was born in Exeter and grew up in Holland. After reading English at Oxford, where her poem The House won the Newdigate Prize, she worked as a book-binder in London and Norfolk. She has since returned to Oxford, where she completed her doctorate on the Tudor poet John Skelton. A revised version of her thesis, John Skelton and Poetic Authority, is shortly to be published by Oxford University Press. After working on the Oxford English Dictionary for two years, she now lectures in English at St Edmund Hall. She won an Eric Gregory Award for her poetry in 1996, and has published two collections with Bloodaxe, A Grip on Thin Air (2000) and Icarus on Earth (2005).
In the Saturday morning seminar on publication that starts at 9.00am, the main speaker is Neil Astley. His presentation, "Publishing: For or Against a Readership?" will centre on the divisions in literature, the ways the interests of writers, readers and publishers too often conflict with one another, so that everyone loses out in the end. This will be followed by group discussions.
Neil Astley founded Bloodaxe Books in 1978, and was given a D.Litt by Newcastle University for his pioneering work. He has edited over 800 poetry books, and has published several anthologies, including Staying Alive: real poems for unreal times (Bloodaxe, UK, 2002; Miramax, USA, 2003), which has sold 100,000 copies in two years, and Being Alive: the sequel to Staying Alive, which went into the poetry bestsellers list at no.1 on publication in October 2004, as well as Poetry with an Edge (1988/1993), New Blood (1999), Pleased to See Me: 69 very sexy poems (2002), and Do Not Go Gentle: poems for funerals (2003).
He won an Eric Gregory Award for his own poetry, and has published two poetry collections, Darwin Survivor (1988), a Poetry Book Society Recommendation, and Biting My Tongue (1995). His novel The End of My Tether (Flambard, 2002; Scribner, 2003) was shortlisted for the Whitbread First Novel Award in 2002, and his second novel, The Sheep Who Changed the World, is due from Flambard in 2005.
Another speaker on Saturday morning will be the Greek writer from Pyrgos, Arcontoula Alexandropoulou. Her presentation is called, "Translation and Poetry as Cooking on Notes and Dressing on Watercolours." When Tchaikovski composed his Manfred Symphony, he was practically translating Byron’s poetic work in hundreds of different languages all at once creating a new “poem” of his own. And Bruegel’s Fall of Ikarus was Auden’s poem translated into hues, shades, brush strokes and light.
“Translation is art,” writes Arcontoula Alexandropoulou, tends to become a cliché. Translation of poetry and literature, though, is painting, and the composition of melodies, it is essentially the cooking of a dish on somebody else’s recipe, mixing familiar tastes, herbs and spices. Experienced poets advise young ones to translate poetry from other languages into their own, to delve into the sounds, the rhythm, the internal system and vibrant structure of the original, and through this initiation, to mix and cook, to pick and choose their own unique ingredients.
Soon enough one realizes that they
improvise, that writing poetry is doing one’s own cooking, guessing which
chromatic background best fits the presentation of their dish, translating
tastes, smells, melodies, silence into words, commas, poems, meaningful
white spaces. And if the chef poet puts his hands on the ingredients of two
different languages as Greek and English then he or she mixes and separates
and often finds out that not all of his/ her recipes can always be written
and executed in both languages, so the poet sits back and lets the
translator worry about the dressing.
The Klandestini multilateral creative writing project is run by Inizjamed and the British Council with the support of the St. James Cavalier Centre for Creativity.
Klandestini is a multilateral creative writing project which shows why emerging writers, just like illegal immigrants, need a refuge
SIX Cypriots, four Greeks, four Italians and six Maltese meet in a
round theatre. But instead of lying to get themselves out and into trouble
and generally treating the world as their ashtray like they normally do in
jokes, all they do for a whole weekend is read poetry and prose. You would
have thought they had better things to do, but read they do. And they do it
Published in The Times (Saturday, 30 October, 2004)
by Ronnie Micallef, country director, British Council, Malta
various points in the implementation of this project, one particular
question seemed to crop up persistently. How and why is the British Council
involved in a Mediterranean literature project? The question is actually not
so difficult to answer. A richness of cultures has had an acknowledged
influence on contemporary British arts and lifestyles. Monica Ali's Brick
Lane, for instance, highlights the theme of movement across cultures,
observes perceptions of home and addresses the individual's quest for
meaning in a changing world. This pretty much sums up our own Klandestini
Published in The Times (Saturday, 30 October, 2004)
F'Ottubru, 2003, The British Council u Inizjamed se jniedu proġett multilaterali ta' kitba kreattiva ta' 15-il xahar għal kittieba emerġenti fil-Mediterran bi sħab mal-Kavallier ta' San Ġakbu.
Fil-kuntest ta’ dan il-proġett, Inizjamed stabbiliet kuntatti ma’ awturi fl-Italja, Ċipru u Franza li diġà ħadmu flimkien waqt il-Bjennale ta’ l-Artisti Żgħażagħ mill-Ewropa u l-Mediterran. Inizjamed tirrappreżenta lil Malta f’din il-bjennale. Wieħed minn dawn l-awturi huwa Valerio Cruciani minn Ruma. Ħafna minn dawn l-awturi fil-pajjiżi differenti se jieħdu sehem fil-Festival ta’ Kittieba Emerġenti mill-Mediterran li se jsir Malta bejn is-5 u s-7 ta' Novembru ta’ l-2004 fil-Kavallier ta' San Ġakbu.
Il-workshops fil-pajjiżi differenti li huma involuti f'dan il-proġett se jsiru fl-ewwel xhur ta’ l-2004 u se jitmexxew minn awturi magħrufin ibbażati fir-Renju Unit. Maurice Riordan, poeta Irlandiż li jgħix Londra (fuq ix-xelluq fir-ritratt ma' Adrian Grima), se jmexxi l-workshops li se jsiru Malta.
Għalkemm dawn is-sessjonijiet se jkunu bl-Ingliż, il-parteċipanti se jkunu jistgħu jiktbu kemm bil-Malti u kemm bl-Ingliż. L-aħjar xogħlijiet se jiġu ppubblikati biż-żewġ lingwi fuq il-website li qed tiġi ddisinjata b’mod professjonali għall-proġett. Dawn il-workshops huma maħsubin ukoll għal dawk kollha li huma interessati fit-traduzzjoni tal-letteratura.
Fil-proġett se jieħdu sehem ukoll għadd ta’ studenti tfajliet u ġuvintur ta' bejn it-12 u t-18-il sena.
Jekk int interessat/a f’dawn il-workshops, li se jiffukaw fuq il-kitba tal-poeżija u n-novelli u fuq it-traduzzjoni ikteb lil email@example.com jew ċempel fuq 2137 6941 jew 7946 7952.
A 15-month Multilateral Creative Writing Project
In the context of this project Inizjamed has established contacts with writers in Italy, Cyprus, and France who have already worked together in the context of the Biennial for Young Artists from Europe and the Mediterranean, at which Malta is represented by Inizjamed. One of them is the Roman writer Valerio Cruciani (in picture, left). Many of the writers in the participating countries will meet together at a Festival of Emerging Mediterranean Writers to be held in Malta between 5-7 November, 2004.
The writing workshops in the different countries involved in the project will be run by well-known writers based in the UK in early 2004. The workshops in Malta will be mentored by Irish London-based poet, Maurice Riordan, who appears in the first photo above, on the right.
The sessions will be in English but the participants can write either in Maltese or in English. The best works will be published on the professionally designed project website in both Maltese and English. Those who are interested in literary translations are encourage to attend.
A group of male and female students aged between 12 and 18 will also be participating in the project.
If you are interested in attending these literary workshops, which will focus mainly on poetry, short stories and literary translations, write to firstname.lastname@example.org or phone on 2137 6941 or 7946 7952.
for the Klandestini writers
Main Objectives of the Project
Klandestini is a creative writing project, therefore the three main objectives are:
The Klandestini project is mainly for emerging writers who are resident in the one of the participating Mediterranean countries. Participants must be 18 and over. They will normally write in their native Mediterranean languages and have their work translated into English in order to be able to communicate with the mentor and the participants in the other countries.
With regard to the writing sessions for young students, each country may choose to carry out this part of the project within schools, colleges or universities.
The Common Image/Theme
The Klandestini project encourages the participating writers to follow one of two strands of interest, or both, in varying degrees:
1. the first strand focuses on the social, anthropological and / or political aspect of migration, refugees and clandestine life
2. the second strand deals with ‘being clandestine’ as an image / metaphor / theme to be applied to writers / artists, with particular reference to Mediterranean writers and emerging Mediterranean writers (who make up the group of participants in Klandestini)
Not all the texts will be published online. The local mentor together with the UK-based mentor should guide the writers in this respect. The same goes for the possible publication in October 2004.
Each writing group is to make use of its human and/or financial resources to see that the translations of the literary works into English are of high quality.
Role and Function of Mentors
The mentors will fulfil the role outlined by the project proposal (please refer to website). Maurice Riordan will be the mentor for the group in Malta, Sinéad Morrissey for Cyprus, and George Szirtes for Greece. The mentor for the Italian group has not yet been identified.
At the December 2003 Malta meeting, the representatives of the writing groups and BC offices in the participating countries agreed that there should also be a local mentor to assist the writing group when it comes to choosing the works that should be published on the website.
The Writing Groups within each Country
Writers within each group are to meet each other in person when possible. However, the main means of communication between them is the website. Workshop duration will vary according to the different writing group. Maurice Riordan will be leading a full-day workshop in Malta on February 15. Before and after that, the writers within the group will be meeting regularly to discuss their writing
Communication between the Writing Groups
Karsten Xuereb, the project coordinator, has supplied the lead participants with instructions and notes on the management of the Klandestini website in their own country.
Work on the publication (online and/or book form) of the best works of the Klandestini project will be done between June and September 2004 so the chosen works from each of the participating countries are to reach Karsten Xuereb, the project coordinator, by the end of May 2004.
The November 2004 Festival for Emerging Writers in Malta
The Festival will be held at the St. James Cavalier Centre for Creativity between Friday 5 and Sunday 7 November. Each participating country will be represented by four writers chosen by the local and foreign mentor, the leader of the writing group, and a representative of the British Council office.
During the Festival, the literary works may be performed in collaboration with visual artists, actors, musicians, film makers and others.
After the November 2004 Festival for Emerging Writers in Malta, the writing groups will discuss the project as a whole and send their evaluation to the project coordinator in Malta and to the British Council. The idea is to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the project and to come up with concrete proposals for the future.
At the December 2003 Klandestini meeting held in Malta, Ms Roisin McDonough (Chair Northern Ireland Arts Council) & Dr Aideen McGinley (Permanent Secretary Northern Ireland Dept Arts, Culture & Sports) announced that they will be inviting a select group of writers from the Klandestini project to visit Belfast in March 2005 for the Between the Lines Literary Festival. This visit will allow participants to attend workshops with writers from Northern Ireland, share their literature in the Festival and gain exposure to the theatre, music and visual arts scene in Northern Ireland.
Malta - 27 Jan. 04
Id-deċiżjoni li nipproponi xbiha jew tema komuni għal dan il-proġett ta’ kitba kreattiva għal awturi emerġenti fil-Mediterran ħadnieha wara ħafna diskussjoni. L-idea hi li l-“klandestini” jistimulaw il-kreattività ta’ l-awturi u mhux jagħlquha jew jitfgħuha l-baħar.
Ir-realtà tal-klandestini, ta’ l-immigranti hekk imsejħa illegali hija attwali ħafna fil-Mediterran u f’għadd ta’ bnadi oħra tad-dinja fejn il-bnedmin jagħmlu minn kollox biex jaħarbu mill-persekuzzjoni, mid-delużjoni, jew mill-ġuħ. Imma anki l-awturi “emerġenti” huma b’mod klandestini, mhux awtorizzati, mhux milqugħa; anki huma għandhom l-ambizzjonijiet tagħhom li ħafna drabi jidhru bħala theddida għall-awturi “tal-post”.
Jikteb Stanley Borg:
Kittieba “ġodda” u klandestini
"Fl-aħħar mill-aħħar, kemm il-kittieba “ġodda”, fis-sens ta’ emerġenti, u l-klandestini għandhom l-istess relazzjoni ma’ l-istorja u l-ħin – it-tnejn iħossu inċertezza lejn il-passat, kurżità dwar il-futur u skumdità fi preżent fejn qed jippruvaw jagħmlu ħoss u parti minn sens ta’ komunità, kemm jekk fiċ-ċentru kif ukoll fil-periferija. It-tnejn huma bla dar, klandestini, f’bidla ta’ dinja li ġabet magħha l-bidla ta’ art. It-tnejn jivvjaġġaw bejn żewġ estremi, bejn il-ħalib li qras ta’ art twelidhom u l-għasel imwiegħed ta’ l-art il-ġdida fuq l-orizzont.
Anke f’din l-art ġdida, il-kittieba emerġenti u l-klandestini ma jagħmlux l-għeruq, iżda jmantnu l-ħsieb dwar art twelidhom, li jew ma fehmithomx inkella keċċiethom ‘il bogħod minn xtutha. U l-kultura minn fejn ġew iżoqquha u jtuha l-ħajja, forsi xi darba tfiq u tidħqilhom. Sadanittant, jitkellmu b’lingwa li tinstema’ stramba ħdejn iz-zekzik tagħna, iżda li tista’ ttina bil-ħarta u tqajjimna għad-dgħjufija umana tagħna.
U t-tnejn, il-kittieba ġodda u l-klandestini jiktbu b’lapes imgerrem li jtaqqlilhom idejhom, sabiex jaraw dak li jiktbu u jiktbu dak li jaraw, waqt li joħolmu li xi darba jmorru lura f’art twelidhom li tilqagħhom."
What's in a name
The image or theme of klandestini is meant to stimulate creativity and debate, not hamper it. The workshops will focus on poetry and short stories.
The issue of migration is an important one in the Mediterranean (as elsewhere) and one which we feel artists should engage with, get involved in, and take positions. Besides, emerging writers themselves are “clandestine” in a way, because they are outsiders and unauthorised."
Stanley Borg writes:
"At the end of the day, and night, both emerging writers and klandestini are uncertain about their past, curious of their future, uncomfortable in a present where they are both trying to make a break, to be included in an uncanny, communal ‘something’. Both are homeless, clandestine, changing their world by changing their homeland. Both sail between two extremes, from the nourishing milk turned sour of a jilted motherland and the promised honey of a new unknown, towards which they journey.
Once disembarked on foreign soil, emerging writers and klandestini remain unsettled yet involved in the maintenance of their native culture which has refused or misunderstood them – they feed it, nourish it to keep it breathing, perhaps to see it heal and heave with laughter and dance. And they both write and speak in a different language, which may sound gibberish next to our grey, comfortable gossip, but which could slap us in the face and awaken us to our frail human essence.
And both, emerging writers and klandestini, use a slow, rough pen, to see what they write and write what they see while dreaming of a return to their homeland."
Malta: The Case of Hashem Sarir
Malta and Immigration
Literature and Writers involved in the project
The Malta Independent on Sunday,
by Gillian Bartolo
The Malta Independent, by Cynthia Busuttil
The Malta Independent on Sunday, by Gillian Bartolo(August 31, 2003)
The Malta Independent, by Cynthia Busuttil
Adrian Grima about Klandestini
English version of presentation at the launch of the Klandestini project at St. James Cavalier, 28.10.03
"Klandestini – Emerging Mediterranean Writers" is an 18-month creative writing project for emerging writers and for secondary school students in five countries: Malta, Turkey, Italy, Cyprus, and Greece. Established writers based in the UK will lead a series of workshops in the various participating countries in which the emerging writers will write in the native language and have their poems or short stories translated into English. The emerging writers in the different countries will be linked together through a professionally designed website created in the UK and administered by Inizjamed here in Malta through Karsten Xuereb, the project coordinator.
The group of writers and the workshops in each participating country is coordinated by one of the writers or by the partner organization (eg. Valerio Cruciani from Amnesia Vivace in Rome) and by the local British Council office. Klandestini reaches its climax with the publication of the best works produced throughout the duration of the project and with a Festival of Emerging Mediterranean Writers to be held at St. James Cavalier in November, 2004.
The Klandestini project was created and is being run by Inizjamed and The British Council, with the support of the St. James Cavalier Centre for Creativity. Within The British Council, Mr. Ronnie Micallef, director of the British Council office in Malta, and Ms. Suzanne Joinson, from the Film and Literature Department, have played a crucial role in the creation of this ambitious project. Karsten Xuereb from Inizjamed, the Klandestini project coordinator, is making it all happen.
This project is a dream come true for Inizjamed and you can certainly recognize many of the characteristic traits of Inizjamed at the very heart of Klandestini:
One last point
Minister Mugliett has always supported our voluntary cultural initiatives and we certainly appreciate his support. We wouldn’t have an office for Inizjamed and the Klandestini project if it weren’t for his help.
Now it is time for local NGOs to have a law that establishes the duties and rights of NGOs. We don't expect the government to carry us along in its arms: we are non-governmental organizations and proud of it. But if the government respects the work that we do, both as volunteers and as paid workers, it must give us an internationally recognized legal framework within which to work We’ve been waiting for this law for many years – so I ask Minister Mugliett to urge the Cabinet to present the White Paper on NGOs as soon as possible and to be prepared for the comments and suggestions that will follow this invitation to consultation.
We believe that the process is as important as the end: Klandestini is an important stage in a longer, more exciting journey. NGOs are alive and kicking.
Adrian Grima, Coordinator, Inizjamed
28 October, 2003
Ronnie Micallef about Klandestini
(The Times, 1 November, 2003)
I refer to the
report by Herman Grech "Klandestini launched
to encourage the talent of writers in the Mediterranean"
0ctober 29, 2003).
Ronnie Micallef, Director, British Council (Malta)
Bulettin ta’ kull ġimgħa maħruġ miċ-Ċentru ta’ Informazzjoni dwar Malta u l-Unjoni Ewropea (Numru: 201 Is-Sibt, 8 ta’ Novembru, 2003)
Ippubblikata analiżi dwar l-immigrazzjoni illegali f’Malta u
pajjiżi oħra li se jissieħbu fl-UE
Aġġornat silet partijiet minn din
l-analiżi li tikkonċerna lil Malta.
Il-Grupp ta’ Evalwazzjoni Kollettiva tal-Kunsill tal-Ministri dwar
Il-qagħda f’Malta ta’ l-immigranti kif jarawha esperti ta’ l-UE
Il-Grupp ta’ Evalwazzjoni Kollettiva qasam l-10 pajjiżi li se jissieħbu
fl-UE fi tliet kategoriji rigward l-għadd ta’ immigranti illegali (li waslu,
li kienu arrestati, miżmuma, deportati); kif kienu maqsuma u karatteristiċi
I have spoken to the Commissioner in charge of handling
asylum applications in Belgium, and he has given me the following tips,
which might come in useful in Malta.
Arnold Cassola is AD Candidate for European Parliament Elections June 2004
Media Release 5-10-2003
Stqarrija għall-Mezzi tax-Xandir 5-10-2003
Mistoqsija parlamentari tal-Greens Ewropej dwar
tal-Kelliem ta’ l-Alternattiva Demokratika - The Green Party u dwar l-Unjoni
Ewropea u Segretarju Ġenerali tal-Greens Ewropej il-Prof. Arnold Cassola,
il-membru parlamentari Ewropew Helene Flautre għamlet mistoqsija
parlamentari lill-Kummissjoni Ewropea u lill-Kunsill Ewropej dwar
il-kundizzjonijiet ta’ l-immigranti u u ta’ dawk li qed ifittxu kenn
What Dr Borg fails to highlight is how the Maltese government
is trying to expedite the process.
Labour Party spokesmen had a mixed reaction. Joseph Abela
agreed with Gil Robles that it was not right to subject asylum-seekers to
long periods of detention. His colleague José Herrera begged to differ and
wrote in The Times: "Personally, however, I find no hesitation in
publicly declaring that I am in agreement with the position being taken by
Gavin Gulia, Opposition spokesman for home affairs. In my opinion, he has
taken a very prudent and
cautious approach to the matter". Which basically means: endorsing the
For us Greens, there is no doubt about it: humane treatment
comes first and foremost. I reiterate that we should all be in favour of
more humane treatment for asylum-seekers and irregular migrants and
therefore the government cannot but heed the recommendations made by Mr Gil
Robles. All possible attempts should be made to shorten procedures that
asylum seekers have to undergo before they are granted refugee status or
refused it. Mr Gil-Robles himself has confirmed that some asylum seekers are
kept in detention in Malta for as much as two years. This is simply
inhumane. All caring Maltese should support Mr Gil-Robles's recommendation
for the introduction of a maximum time limit within which the immigrants get
to know of their destiny, irrispective of whether the decision is a positive
one or not.
It simply makes no sense that people who have committed no
crime except the breach of immigration regulations are basically being
treated like criminals, and sometimes in even worse conditions than
convicted criminals. Detention should only be used as a means of last resort
and asylum seekers should be accommodated in open centres.
Temporary work permits should be granted to asylum-seekers so
that they would be more self-sufficient during their stay in Malta. They and
all other foreign workers should be guaranteed basic working conditions to
avoid their exploitation and the fear of other workers that they are being
undercut. Having said all this, the problem of the near-weekly influx of
people fleeing from misery, wars and poverty to our little island remains
and has to be tackled. A step in the right direction, in my opinion, would
be for the Maltese government to make strong pressure on the European Union
to consider the problem of illegal human trafficking as a European problem,
and not a Maltese one.
The horrible business of trafficking humans may never be
financial and human resources of our small country are too limited to be
able to partrol the international waters surrounding our country.
What we need is an EU maritime policing force,
financed through a common European budget, to
patrol international waters to stop this disgusting trade in
But this is not enough. To fight the illegal traffickers who
thrive on the
of so many poor people on the southern shores of the
and beyond, it is the
EU's duty to promote investments for working
opportunities in these countries. Work created in situ will mean fewer
people trying to flee to
Europe. Agreements have to be reached with the
Maghreb region governments so that they do not encourage this
illegal trade of helpless human beings.
Let us hope that our government does move in this humane
December 5, 2003
Detention not the most cost-effective measure
Only five people to
process applications by asylum seekers
Sudden loss of
hope occurs 10 months into detention
Intervista a Karsten Xuereb, di Valerio Cruciani
Sono nato il 25 aprile 1978, a San Giljan, dove vivo tutt’ora. San Giljan era un villaggio di pescatori. Oggi è più la mecca di chi vuole uscire la sera, fare affari o cuccare le turiste. Un altro tipo di pesca...io ho fatto lettere all’università a Malta, dove ho studiato lingua e letteratura antica e contemporanea inglese e americana, e quella contemporanea d’Africa, Asia e Australia, insieme al cinema. Ho lavorato alla tv e alla radio, facendo programmi educativi e culturali e con delle associazioni maltesi che si occupano di letteratura, teatro e arte visiva, in veste di manager culturale.
Klandestini è nato dopo un lungo periodo di discussione tra il British Council a Malta e Inizjamed, che sono i coordinatori di questo progetto. Si voleva trovare il modo di creare lo spazio per la scrittura di giovani scrittori dal Mediterraneo. La difficolta’ che questi trovano ad esprimersi e far viaggiare i loro testi è diventata il tema stesso del progetto. Il giovane scrittore del Mediterraneo (come tanti altri scrittori di ogni età e di altre parti del mondo) non fa lo scrittore a tempo pieno. Molte volte é difficile anche scrivere regolarmente, per vari impegni come lo studio e il lavoro. Ecco perché ‘klandestini’: tanti scrittori scrivono ‘clandestinamente’, mentre vivono di tutt’altra cosa, osservando ma stando attenti a non esseri presi. Come dicono in inglese, on the run.
Durante questo anno una trentina di scrittori, ma non solo, si stanno impegnando e creare uno spazio comune per una scrittura che tratta questo tema o, se vogliono, la ‘clandestinità’ vera, quella antropologica, in altre parole quella dell’immigrato. Gli scrittori lavoreranno nei loro stessi paesi, cioè Cipro, la Grecia, la Turchia, l’Italia e Malta. Si faranno guidare da scrittori provenienti dalla Gran Bretagna, più affermati e con esperienza nei loro progetti. Per esempio a Malta ci sarà Maurice Riordan, poeta del Galles e la poetessa Irlandese Sinéad Morrissey a Cipro. Del lavoro di coordinazione è responsabile Inizjamed, insieme al British Council di Malta, Londra, e dei paesi partecipanti. Io sono il Coordinatore del Progetto. Insieme ai miei compagni dell’organizzazione e dei paesi partner creo la struttura necessaria per gli scrittori per poter scrivere, usare il sito web (vedi http://klandestini.britishcouncil.org e http://inzjamed.cjb.net versione italiana) per comunicare tra di loro e mettere su le PR e le strutture posteriori alla fine del progetto a dicembre 2004.
Come ho detto ci sono Cipro, la Grecia, la Turchia, l’Italia e Malta. Lo scopo principale é quello di agevolare la scrittura dei partecipanti, e dargli uno spazio che dura un anno per lavorare sul proprio testo. Allo stesso tempo hanno la possibilità di vedere e criticare i lavori degli altri: questo sicuramente avrà un effetto sul lavoro propio. Lo scopo piu ampio é quello di creare su un network da non dissolversi dopo l’arco di quest’anno. I contatti che si stanno facendo ora possono durare e creare delle affinità e collaborazioni interessanti nel futuro.
Questa é una gran bella domanda! In poche righe non posso dare una descrizione completa della cultura a Malta. Prima di tutto perché ci sono un bel po’ di realtà culturali a Malta, alcune che non mi viene facile aggrupare insieme ad altre. Ci sono le espressioni di natura anglosassone, come lo sono la pantomima di Natale, i mezzi di comunicazione in inglese e il teatro che é ossessianato da pezzi contemporanei anglo-americani. Dall’altro lato ci sono quelle più italiane, come l’opera a Gozo, il vino e il caffé nei posti di cultura e l’amore per Sanremo! Storicamente la sezione piu istruita e colta di Malta era più vicina alla cultura italiana. Ma anni di imperialismo britannico hanno lasciato il loro segno, e oggi, quel segno lo sappiamo anche sfruttare per aprirci piu strade.
Politicamente e culturalmente Malta non é forte, ma nella storia abbiamo avuto alcuni leader in questi campi che sono stati furbi abbastanza da sfruttare le opportunità che ci sono venute. Quello di cui abbiamo bisogno ora, specialmente di fronte all’accesso all’UE, é di gente di ampie vedute che possa creare strutture e occasioni da cui possa trarre profitto il paese intero, più che delle nicchie particolari. Dei film che si girano regolarmente a Rinella, nel Sudest di Malta, come Gladiator o Troy, c’e’ sempre qualcuno che approfitta: perché non trovare il modo di coinvolgere una più gran parte dell’economia locale, e mettere su un’industria sostenibile? L’argomento é diverso quando si parla di espressioni culturali meno gigantesche, come la musica classica, la letteratura o il teatro sperimentale. Però, c’e’ un problema simile: il talento c’é, la voglia di lavorare c’é, ma molte volte non si trova il modo di fare gli individui, o dei nuclei piccoli, lavorare sul serio insieme. Questo succede da per tutto, ma in un paese di sole 400,000 persone, questo significa che raggiungere dei livelli professionali, e in modo regolare, é molto difficile.
Anche se c’é una struttura per aiutare gli scrittori a scrivere, i partecipanti devono metterci molto del loro. Devono trovare il tempo per ricercare il loro materiale, il tempo per scrivere e il tempo per leggere i lavori degli altri. Se gli scrittori stanno per conto loro e alla fine mandano un testo completo, non si sarà aggiunto niente di nuovo. Tutti i partecipanti devono avere la curiosità di cercare la storia dietro al loro vicino, compagno, collega, e mettere su una comunicazione fluida. Vorrei tanto che gli scrittori usino il concetto del progetto come un arnese per mettere su una comunita’ piu’ vasta di scrittori e lettori, e non solo come una vetrina per mostrare il propio lavoro. Vorrei vedere dei lavoro nati in collaborazione e che prima di arrivare alla fase finale siano passati da vari livelli di critica e composizione. Sono fiducioso che gli scrittori scelti dai paesi partecipanti condividono questo visione e che faranno un bel lavoro.
Per gli scrittori, il progetto é importante perché tenta di raggiungere degli obiettivi che li aiuteranno a scrivere meglio, ed essere letti di più. Per gli enti organizzativi é molto importante perché mette in pratica quello in cui credono e quello che sono nate per fare. Il British Council da anni lavora nel campo culturale e educativo in più di 200 paesi con l’obiettivo di far incontrare e collaborare su progetti in cui si identificano persone di culture, razze e religioni diverse. Il St James Cavalier Centre for Creativity, a Valletta, che ci ospita regolarmente nei suoi spazi e ci aiuta a pubblicizzare e organizzare gli eventi connessi a Klandestini sta usando le proprie capacità a un livello internazionale, e dopo soli 3 anni di attività, sta riempendo degli spazi che altrimenti, sarebbero rimasti vuoti. Per Inizjamed l’interesse é quello letterario, e allo stesso tempo quello di lavorare insieme a delle persone in gamba e interessanti nel Mediterraneo e nella Gran Bretagna.
Il Festival si svolgerà a Novembre, al St James a Malta. Al momento ha il nome di Festival di Letteratura Emergente del Mediterraneo, perché rappresenterà i migliori pezzi che verranno fuori dall’anno di lavoro. Ci saranno dei rappresentanti da tutti i paesi partecipanti, insieme a una rassegna di arte visiva che si dovrebbe mettere su nello stesso periodo a Valletta.
(This article is the first of two about Inizjamed; the present one introduces the group, the second, in the next issue of Orbis, will allow for an in-depth interview).
Inizjamed: the word is a compound of two morphemes, one, inizja [start!], interpretable as an imperative, the other, Med, as an abbreviation for Mediterranean. It therefore suggests an invocation, or a hankering after something to be started in the Sea that washes shores where, throughout history and again in the present, there has hardly been any absence of far-reaching events. In fact, the word is the name for a group of upcoming Maltese writers whose enterprise is clarification enough: the compound’s first morpheme should in fact suggest inizjattiva, and the use of Med is not a sign of any fat-headed expectation of how matters Maltese could be projected onto a wider prospect through, well, initiative.
This much emerges during discussion with Adrian Grima, one of the group’s founders, when I meet him and two other members of the group, Karsten Xuereb and Norbert Bugeja, at Inizjamed’s office in the National Pool complex in Gzira (a space made available through the Ministry for Youth, Sport, Culture, and the Arts). Adrian explains that when the group was set up in 1998 it came very close to calling itself Misraħ, but that there soon arose some dissatisfaction with that choice because the connotations of a writer’s agora, as well as the claim on a putative authenticity suggested by the more ‘purely’ Arabic-sourced word, risked the clichéd and the facile. The name Inizjamed was confirmed instead. It suits. Inizjamed have, over the past year alone, demonstrated extraordinary initiative. They are making things happen, and the events they are instigating do look as if they are set to leave an imprint beyond Maltese contexts, in the Mediterranean and indeed elsewhere.
What they are making happen is indeed diverse. One defining Inizjamed event was the organisation in 2002 of Bliet (u Miti). It sought ‘to revisit the Maltese “imaginary,” the picture that the Maltese have painted of themselves while in the process of “creating” themselves as a nation’, and which led to an interesting publication, named after the event, that included ‘short, previously unpublished articles that deal with the topical issue of Malta’s cultural identity and the way that it has been constructed and a number of literary works by some of Malta’s most interesting writers’ (www.geocities.com/inizjamed/bliet_ktieb.htm). The drafting of different art forms and discourses into one event is something of an Inizjamed characteristic, though a certain privileging of writing over, say, painting or theatre remains a feature of the group (which, it is worth noting, originally perceived itself as an organisation that ‘promotes socially and politically committed culture and actively promotes a greater awareness of the Mediterranean and its cultural and environmental realities’—http://www.geocities.com/inizjamed/about_inizjamed.htm). Additionally, Inizjamed’s activities have extended to the organisation of encounters between members of the group and writers from the Mediterranean; these encounters, most of which were open to the public, have helped to redimensionalise that time-honoured event on the Maltese literary scene: the ‘poetry evening’ (or the ‘musico-literary evening’). They have helped Inizjamed forge links with a number of similar groups in Italy, Greece, Turkey, and Cyprus. All of this led recently to some notable ‘scoops’, as, for instance, in the group’s co-hosting, with the British Council, of the visit of the British poet Benjamin Zephaniah and the Irish poet Sinéad Morrissey.
But perhaps Inizjamed’s greatest breakthrough yet has been Klandestini, which is coordinated by Karsten Xuereb. It is described on Inizjamed’s website as ‘a multilateral creative writing project run by Inizjamed (Malta) and the British Council, with the support of the St. James Cavalier Centre for Creativity, Valletta’, and it runs between October 2003 and December 2004. The primary aim is ‘to have creative writing workshops led by well-established writers based in the UK for new writers, writing in their native language, and having their works translated into English so they can communicate with other writers in various countries’. For Maltese writers, the mentor is Maurice Riordan, who teaches creative writing at Imperial College, London and who is the author of two significant collections of poetry, A Word from the Loki and Floods, published by Faber and Faber.
Klandestini (the word, in Maltese, is the designation for illegal immigrants) takes as its cue the plight of the illegal immigrant and allegorises it into an expression of the Maltese writer’s predicament. The relation is given effective articulation on the website by Stanley Borg, a member of the group: ‘Both emerging writers and klandestini are uncertain about their past, curious of their future, uncomfortable in a present where they are both trying to make a break, to be included in an uncanny, communal ‘something’. Both are homeless, clandestine, changing their world by changing their homeland. Both sail between two extremes, from the nourishing milk turned sour of a jilted motherland and the promised honey of a new unknown, towards which they journey. Once disembarked on foreign soil, emerging writers and klandestini remain unsettled yet involved in the maintenance of their native culture which has refused or misunderstood them – they feed it, nourish it to keep it breathing, perhaps to see it heal and heave with laughter and dance.’ That is the pitch; the bottom line is that Klandestini will bring a neglected aspect of the literature of the Mediterranean to the fore. Ronnie Micallef, the Director of the Maltese office of the British Council, with whom Inizjamed are collaborating, puts the case well. ‘A search through the bookshelves of any major British bookstore for an authentic voice speaking out for young Mediterranean people today can be very disappointing. Where are the stories which deal with the deeper realities beneath the tourist-brochure gloss of Mediterranean towns? Can this reality be considered only in the light of endless days in hammocks in beautiful Tuscan, Cretan or Gozitan farmhouses, as the Amazon book selector seems to suggest? Does the wider world understand the tensions, frustrations, hopes and aspirations of the new generation of Mediterranean writers? Indeed, can we even refer to Mediterranean writers as representing a specific genre? This in itself raises an all-important question - what does it take to make an international publisher aware of the scant attention at present being paid to the sometimes harsh realities of everyday living in the Mediterranean region?’ (www.geocities.com/inizjamedmalta/klandestini.htm). Hence Klandestini hopes to offer Maltese and other Mediterranean writers the chance of their work being translated and finding broader readerships.
What strikes me in all this is that it is reminiscent of some of the points touched upon in the interview with Immanuel Mifsud, in the last issue of Orbis: most notably, the recognition that for Maltese literature the next frontier must be a coordinated (rather than piecemeal or individual) effort to find a presence, through translation, in the consciousness of foreign readerships, and the fact that Maltese writers find themselves marginalised from literature’s most prominent markets. This leads me to think about two issues.
First, is there something that Inizjamed are not making happen that perhaps they should, or something that they are making happen that they should perhaps be steering clear of? I wonder, for instance, about whether they risk becoming, to all intents and purposes, that very strange entity: a kind of unofficial or ‘alternative’ (as in ‘indie’) Arts (or, at any rate, Literature) Council. Not least because Inizjamed sees itself as ‘a cultural organisation’ (rather, than, say, a ‘writers’ collective’), this could instigate a number of negative reactions: condescension, opprobrium, even jealousies (for, as is well known, even ‘alternative’ movements create their ‘centres’ and their ‘outside’). The opposite danger is also very real, but I am assured that the group is painfully aware of the danger of becoming stultifyingly established, of losing what it is about it that is radically inventive. I get a sense that the slight sense of grievance felt within the group at the fact that it is not always given its due in some quarters is, for that reason, seen as a blessing in disguise. In this respect, Inizjamed’s association with the British Council, a body that can hardly be considered to be removed from the centre of things, is doubtless an opportunity but also a test of how the group means to position itself in future.
The second issue is related to a possibly discomfiting reflection, and has to do with the fact that Inizjamed’s purpose brings it disconcertingly home that in literature, as in business, location is paramount. Much of what Inizjamed stands for would be unnecessary (or at least it would be approached differently) if its circumstances were not defined by the very strange particularity of Maltese literature. It is a particularity that becomes tangible when registering the deep poignancy of Maltese writers’ necessity to always be doing other things. By other things I am not referring, here, to the non-writing activities which keep Maltese writers in employment. The obvious point that the reality of the Maltese publishing market makes it difficult, if not impossible, for anybody to live on the proceeds of their writing remains facile unless it is followed up with an intuition of what it means, for a writer anywhere, to have only very problematically (and perhaps not at all) the opportunity to accede to what Maurice Blanchot called the writer’s solitude. ‘What [the literary work] says is exclusively this: that it is—and nothing more. Beyond that it is nothing. Whoever wants to make it express more finds nothing …. He whose life depends upon the work … belongs to the solitude of that which expresses nothing except the word being: the word which language shelters by hiding it, or causes to appear when language itself disappears into the silent void of the work’ (The Space of Literature , trans. Linda Davis, University of Nebraska Press, 1982). Blanchot’s idea appears apolitical in its vision, but is in fact very political in its implicit assumption that the writer’s solitude can come about independently of what a writer must do to attain some visibility for his work. In fact, as the Maltese writer knows too well, for Maltese works a certain kind of visibility is possible only through translation. Because of those realities, Maltese writers cannot just write or cultivate solitude—but must chase, if what is in view is a readership that is not only local but a broader-based one heartily admitting them to the ranks of Weltliteratur, after encounters that might see them translated from a language that is both their opportunity but also their limit. Doing, for them, is always coimplicated with being. For Maltese writers, then, a presence elsewhere is not only consequent upon the disciplining of their craft or the pursuit of their art, or upon such practicalities as finding an agent or working with a publisher’s editor, but, and at least as crucially, upon making sure their encounters lead somewhere. Inizjamed, whose very ethos is encounter, thereby faces two pretty problems:
1. It will find it hard to dispel the impression of a certain wannabeism, even though its motivation is clearly laudable and its activities a very welcome counter against insularity and against a complacent accommodation to a local readership and market.
2. Its success can only be measured by the extent to which it understands, and communicates the understanding, that the Maltese writer cannot just write, that for the Maltese writer writing is just the start and, indeed, perhaps the easy part.
It has been a good year for Inizjamed, and another good year beckons. If the latter is very good, it should be a good and a very interesting year for Maltese literature, and one which as far as Inizjamed is concerned will culminate in the Festival of Emerging Mediterranean Writers to be held at St. James Cavalier, Valletta, in November 2004: an event with ‘the active participation of writers from all participating countries and local artists’, where ‘the best works will be collected prior to the festival, and presented in book form and/or online during the festival’. This is indeed something to look forward to, but, in the end, some caution is perhaps warranted. For there is a third and more critical problem for Inizjamed to keep sight of, and that is that the writer’s initiative will go far only as long as it is complemented by an understanding of the writer’s essential solitude. In the end, the writing, however easy a part of a more complex whole it is, is what is going to be determining. In all their encounters, therefore, what one should most benignly wish upon Inizjamed is solitude.
Dr. Ivan Callus
Published in Orbis, Volume 2/4 (January 2004)
I'm sure the workshop was inspiring in a lot of ways for everyone. Maurice was great to pin point particular aspects of our writing and give us suggestions about how to make it better. Most of all, I think that listening to the others' writings and criticism was the most enriching experience I've ever had as a budding writer. We should do it more often!
Riordan laqatni immens. Sibtu kittieb interessanti - kemm fil-kitba tiegħu, kemm fl-ideat li qasam mal-grupp b'mod li jidhirli li kien effettiv ħafna. Bniedem aċċessibbli u ġenwin għall-aħħar. Wara ġurnata workshop ma stajtx nitlaq il-poeżiji tieghu minn idejja. Għandi ħeġġa kbira nara x'se jkun l-effett fuq il-kitba tiegħi.
|We are beginning to write like
nomads with a strong sense of place. A shift
from the romantic musings of star and sea to curly tomato, crusty bread,
price of lipstick, languid futile sundays with lovers who don't talk,
frustrated teachers and mothers still traumatised by 9/11, was the surest
sign that things are moving in the right direction.... and best of all our
strong humour came through. We're not normally very good at making fun of
ourselves. Perhaps humour in writing can be explored further.
The feeling of isolation could perhaps be tackled head on. We need to be
more aware of how people are writing today. Especially in terms of modern
The 'localised' identity, or lack of it, is central to many Maltese
writers. Perhaps it doesn't need to be so. Having an objective voice
comment on the mechanics of the work helped the writers to think less about
what they write and more about how they are writing it.
What came through was a strong young personal voice, so the sense of not
belonging or belonging is becoming secondary to the writing. It sounds like
young Maltese writers are writing with a strong sense of person. The place
as canvas and the language itself are enough to make the work specific and
There were times during the workshop when I thought much was lost in
translation (perhaps writers should come prepared with their work translated
to allow for more specific feedback from mentor), but one advantage of this
instantaneous translation was that the transmission of each person's work in
skeletal form allowed for analysis on plot structure and technique, opening
up ways to infiltrate the tradition of Maltese writing with 'loose' style
rather than 'radical' subject.
Understanding seemed to travel from Maurice to the writers and back in a clandestine fashion, since parts of the texts and words spoken were in English, while others were in Maltese. While this did not make all of the communicating process easy and clear, it created a "third language", what can be descibed as the "klandestini" language: this attracted Maurice's attention and inspired the writers in their work. Hopefully, this language will develop and share its themes and styles with the wide audience the project aims to achieve.
Unfortunately I missed the reading
part of the workshop, which from the above
To be honest with you all, my first response was to become terribly depressed, incompetent, pathetic and extremely disillusioned.
I have been made to realize that if I ever want to become a good writer I have to create a split between the abstract and the concrete. Due to the great influence ‘philosophy’ has on me, I tend to write in a philosophical tone or as Maurice Riordan pointed out, tend to go on to abstract writing. I believed it was working out fine till Sunday, but the workshop made me aware that I was on the wrong track. This made me feel apprehensive and confused.
The initial reaction was to give up and to forget about writing altogether. ‘Change’ is not easy, especially if it involves changing something you believed in and which you made your own. However, Today made me want to take of my coat of insecurities and added looser attitude, and try, in some miserable way, to collect the pieces of my old writing frame and build something new. I have never attended a writing workshop or ever been given the possibility to learn something constructive about writing. This opportunity is the first step towards a totally different ‘journey’. I might find out that I really am hopeless and inadequate as a writer but I want to prove that to myself before I give up!
Besides coming to terms with my deficient writing style, Maurice pointed out some techniques that make a piece of writing of a better quality and even more interesting, namely the use of proper names, the “being editorial” issue and the focus on “polarity”. Thank you Maurice.
Listening to fellow writers read out their texts made me understand better what makes writing valuable. Thanks to you all. It wasn’t easy to read out a text one just thought of and wrote in a matter of about 30 minutes. I chickened out.
I also want to thank Adrian for helping me to go through an even deeper stylistic crisis. The mini group discussion, during our lunch break, enabled me to become sensitive to a trap I might have easily fallen into. Stories should not be written as a means of reflection verging on the philosophical. A story should be narrative - nothing more and nothing less! As Adrian said, a text should not give you the feeling that a moral or some kind of philosophical insight begs to be squeezed out of it! A person’s artistic strength and learnt techniques are what make a narrative story more interesting or less interesting!
Understanding Cultural Diversity
Articulating the Klandestini Experience
Literary and Refugee Voices
The next seminar in the Works in Progress Seminar Series at the University of Malta which is now in its eight year, will be held on Wednesday 28th April, 2004, between 6.00pm and 7.30pm, in Room 122, Mediterranean Institute, behind HSBC on campus.
This ninth session, “Articulating the Klandestini experience: Literary and Refugee Voices,” will be chaired by Dr. Adrian Grima and will take the form of a roundtable with two short presentations by Mr. Popol Mubetsambila and Mr. Norbert Bugeja followed by a discussion with all those present. This session is inspired both by the theme of this year’s series of seminars which is Understanding Cultural Diversity and by the Klandestini international creative writing project for Emerging Mediterranean Writers run by Inizjamed and the British Council.
Mr. Popol Mubetsambila (right) is president of the Congolese community in Malta. He left the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2001 when war broke out and has been in Malta for one year seven months. Before he left Congo he studied medicine for one year at the University of Kinshasa. Mr. Mubetsambila is now an interpreter with the UNHCR in Malta. At the seminar he will be sharing his experience and that of many other refugees in Malta.
Mr. Norbert Bugeja (left) is currently reading for an MA in English Literature at the University of Malta. His academic interests lie in contemporary critical theory and postcolonial fiction. He is one of the writers participating in the multilateral creative writing project Klandestini.
For the upcoming Maltese, Italian, Greek and Cypriot writers taking part in the Klandestini project, writes Norbert Bugeja, “the notion of “klandestini” beckons from out there, leaving, above all, much to be narrated.” “What does it mean to say that the “emergent” writer today is, after his or her own way, “clandestine”? Should today’s aspiring writer be taking up such thorny issues as immigration, clandestinity and asylum seeking as a driving concern of their writing? Or should a ‘non-established’ writer assert their right of asylum precisely by taking stock of their very bereavement, vis-a-vis a dumped homeland, in the face of a literary ‘tradition’ that cannot, if it ever could, provide them with a shelter any longer? How does it feel to live in the lingering shade of the Romantics with the roving metaphor of homelessness as a guiding star? Should the “Klandestini” writers belong anywhere, after all, or is it their itinerant, ironic, even reckless verve that can mark, hands-on, the current preoccupations of a literature in Maltese? And, after all, why not a Maltese literature in English?”
Entrance to these seminars is free and everyone is welcome to attend and take active part in the discussion.
We celebrated World Refugee Day some weeks ago but what was there to celebrate about, asks Stanley Borg. Rather, we should rethink our sense of generosity, seeing the way we treat immigrants
You know it's summer when nights become hot, balmy and sticky, and
days stretch into a rhetoric of lazy three-hour lunch breaks, plentiful
pasta and hours spent reclining in a field of sweaty armpits under the warm
Mediterranean sun. And as the rich make their quick escapes only to return
weeks later sporting Corfu-tanned cleavages, we middle class can't get far
enough from the madding crowd and waste our energies trying to whistle while
the world burns. So we get to cook in our own juice, bare our skin, or
lounge drowsily in T-shirts demoted from Saturday night to Sunday morning
over the years. In the background, you can hear the fizz of cans opening,
laughter with a tourist, the curtains flapping indoor conversation and the
sense of decay and ruin buzzing off the streets like a cloud of flies.
This article appeared in the Weekender supplement of The Times (Saturday 10th July, 2004)
PO Box 24 Sliema
Press Release 21.08.04
With regard to media reports that the Maltese Government is conducting talks with neighboring governments, in particular Libya's, to repatriate illegal immigrants trying to enter Malta and whose last point of departure was that particular country, regardless of their nationality, Moviment Graffitti
called on the Government to end such talks with Libya.
Moviment Graffitti said
“In the light of Libya’s bad human rights record - as vividly shown by human rights organisations such as Amnesty International - we believe that repatriating asylum seekers to this country could jeopardize their chance of obtaining a needed refugee status. Asylum seekers that are being
persecuted for their political beliefs (such as those active for democracy in their country of origin) are unlikely to be granted political asylum in a country with a regime such as Libya's which lacks basic political freedoms.”
“With regard to allegations that at times asylum seekers destroy their documents, Moviment Graffitti wishes to highlight that asylum seekers coming from regions lacking basic rights are unlikely to obtain the necessary travel documents from the authorities."
"Moviment Graffitti believes that all asylum seekers arriving in Malta should have their case reviewed separately. This will ensure that bona fide asylum seekers will receive the protection they are entitled to."
"Bona fide asylum seekers are the victims of oppression, poverty and injustice, and should not be seen as criminals. Rather than carrying out international agreements based on the 'Fortress Europe' concept, Malta should carry out international pressure in order that asylum seekers are
entitled to basic human rights. Rather than closing its doors, Europe should tackle such issues through policies that aim to do away with North-South divide, which in the first instance is resulting in mass poverty in Southern regions."
f/ Moviment Graffitti
Stqarrija Stampa 21.08.04
F’dak li ghandu x’jaqsam ma rapporti fil-medja li l-Gvern Malti qieghed jithadded ma gvernijiet ta' pajjizi fil-vicinanza, partikularment ma’ dak Libjan, sabiex l-immigranti illegali li qeghdin jippruvaw jidhlu Malta jigu ripartiti lejn il-pajjiz li telqu minnu minghajr kunsiderazzjoni tan-nazzjonalita’ taghhom, il-Moviment Graffitti iheggeg lil Gvern Malti biex jwaqqaf dawn it-tahditiet.
Il-Moviment Graffitti qal:
"Meta wiehed jikkunsidra in-nuqqas tad-drittijiet umani fil-Libja - kif tixhed dokumentazzjoni ta’ organizzazzjonijiet internazzjonali ghad-drittijiet umani bhall- Amnesty International - ahna nemmnu li meta nies li jfittxu kenn jintbaghtu lura f'pajjiz bhall-Libja jista’ jnaqqas l-opportunità li jgibu status ta' refugjati. Nies li qed jfittxu kenn politiku (bhal dawk li huma attivi ghad-demokrazija f'art twelidhom) mhux ser jkollhom cans jiehdu protezzjoni minn pajjiz bhall- ibja li hu karatterizzat minn nuqqas ta’ libertà politika."
"Rigward allegazzjonijiet li nies li jfittxu l-kenn jeqirdu d-dokumenti taghhom, il-Moviment Graffitti jfakkar il-fatt li f’bosta pajjizi minn fejn jkunu gejjin dawn in-nies huwa difficli biex l-awtoritajiet johorgu i-dokumenti mehtiega ghall-ivvjaggar."
"Il-Moviment jemmen li kull persuna tfittex il-kenn ghandu jkollha l-kas taghha rivedut separatament. Dan sabiex dawk li verament qed jfittxu il-kenn mill-ingustizzji u l-persekuzzjoni jircievu l-protezzjoni li jixirqilhom."
"Nies li verament qed jfittxu il-kenn huma l-vittmi ta' oppressjoni, poverta u ingustizzji ma ghandhomx jkunu meqjusa bhala kriminali. Minflok ma thaddan il-kuncett ta' Fortizza Ewropeja, Malta ghanda tahdem internazzjonalment sabiex nies li jfittxu l-kenn ikunu intitolati ghad-drittijiet umani bazici. Minflok ma taghlaq il-borduri, l-Ewropa ghandha thaddan politika li l-ghan taghha jkun li tintemm il-firda bejn pajjizi sinjuri u foqra. Hija din il-firda li qed twassal ghall-faqar tremend fir-regjuni tan-nofs in-nhar.”
f/ Moviment Graffitti