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Festival Mediterranju tal-Letteratura ta Malta / Malta Mediterranean Literature Festival
Writers 2013

Writers 2013

2013 edition

Angela Bonanno (Sicily) | Tsead Bruinja (Netherlands) | Maria Grech Ganado (Malta) | Khaled Khalifa (Syria) | Mazen Maarouf (Palestine) | Nikola Madzirov (Macedonia) | Immanuel Mifsud (Malta) | Denisa Mirena Pişcu (Romania) | Monique Roffey (UK/Trinidad) | Karl Schembri (Malta/Gaza) | Fahredin Shehu (Kosovo)

angela-bonanno_maghzulAngela Bonanno vive e lavora a Catania..

Nel 2003 ha esordito con una silloge di poesie in dialetto siciliano, Nuatri (Premio letterario Salvo Basso per l’inedito 2003), edizione Prova d’Autore.

Sempre con la stessa casa editrice nel 2005 ha pubblicato Setti Viti comu i  jatti.  (Premio città di Marineo 2006)

Con l’editrice Criluge Meridies ha pubblicato il poemetto Cu sapi quannu nel marzo 2007. Premio Ercole Patti per la poesia agosto 2008.

Marzo 2009 Amuri e Vàdditi con prefazione di Luigi Lo Cascio, editrice Uni-Service, Trento.

Maggio 2010 Dumani ti scrivu, poesia per il teatro,  edizioni Forme-Libere, Trento. (Premio Terre D’Agavi 2013)

Con la casa editrice Paso de barca digital ha pubblicato l’antologia in spagnolo, Dejadme en paz Poemas escogitos, gennaio 2012

Sue poesie sono inserite in varie antologie e tradotte in polacco.

Antologia della malata felice, Forme-Libere, Trento, dicembre 2011 è il suo primo romanzo Segnalazione Speciale della Giuria Premio Brancati 2012.

Tsead Bruinja by Tineke de Lange
Tsead Bruinja by Tineke de Lange

Tsead Bruinja (b. 1974) is a poet living in Amsterdam. He made his debut in 2000 with the Frisian language collection called De wizers yn it read (The meters in the red). Bruinja’s debut in the Dutch language, Dat het zo hoorde (The way it should sound), was published in 2003, and was nominated for the Jo Peters Poetry Prize the following year.

Bruinja compiles anthologies – including the famous Kutgedichten (Twat Poems) and the anthology Droom in Blauwe regenjasnieuwe Friese dichters (Dream in a Blue Raincoat – new Frisian poets) –, writes critical reviews, hosts literary events and performs in the Netherlands and abroad, often with musician Jaap van Keulen and occasionally with the flamenco dancer Tanja van Susteren.

His most recent collections are Overwoekerd (Overgrown; 2010), and Angel (Hook; 2008). The latter was published in newspaper form and appeared as a free download on a Dutch literary blog. Within a month it had been downloaded 2000 times. At the end of 2008 Bruinja was nominated as the new poet laureate for the Netherlands for the period 2009-2013. Bruinja came in second.

Maria Grech Ganado

Maria Grech Ganado, (b. 1943), poet, translator, critic, studied English at the Universities of Malta, Cambridge and Heidelberg. She was the first Maltese female Full-Time Lecturer at the University of Malta (Department of English), has published three collections of Maltese poetry (the first of which won a National Book Prize in 2002) and two of English (the second of which won a National Book Prize in 2006). Her poetry in one language or other has been translated into Italian, French, German, Greek, Spanish, Turkish, Lithuanian, Finnish, Czech and Catalan. It has appeared in English in the UK, the USA, Australia, South Africa and Cyprus.

She has been invited to many literary events in different countries and co-organised an international conference with LAF (Literature Across Frontiers) in Malta in 2005. In 2008, thanks to an exchange scheme with Saint James Cavalier, Malta, she was a Resident Fellow for six weeks at the Virginia Centre for the Creative Arts. Maria has also translated into English much of the contemporary poetry and prose written by Maltese writers today and published overseas. In 2000, she received the MQR – Midalja ghall-Qadi tar-Repubblika (Medal for Service to the Republic).

khaled-khalifaKhaled KHALIFA has written extensively for film and television and authored three novels (titled, in translation The Guard of Deception, 1993; The Gypsy Notebooks, 2000; and In Praise of Hatred, 2006), published in multiple editions in the Arab world. His honors include a 2007 award from the Ismaiiliyah International Festival for Documentaries and a 2005 Award for Best Script for Bab al Maqam, from the Valencia Film Festival. Currently, he is working on his fourth novel, A Parallel Life.

Banned on publication in Syria, In Praise of Hatred, longlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize 2013, is set not in present-day Aleppo but in the decade following 1970 when the Muslim Brotherhood became locked in battle with the state’s Baathist party.

The conflict – reminiscient in its terror of today’s troubles in Syria – ended in 1982, when an attempted uprising was brutally crushed.

Radically, the novel, translated by Leri Price, profiles the psychology of fanaticism from a female perspective. Read an excerpt from Khaled Khalifa’s prose translated into English.

Read Maya Jaggi’s 2012 review on The Guardian of In Praise of Hatred by Khaled Khalifa, which she describes as “a timely novel about Syria’s sectarian strife.”

In February 2012, writing from Damascus, Khaled Khalifa published an open “Letter from Syria.” Read the full version here. Here’s an excerpt:

My people, who have faced death bare-chested and singing, are at this very moment being subjected to a campaign of genocide. Our rebel towns face sieges unprecedented in the history of world revolutions. Medical personnel are prevented from aiding the wounded, and field hospitals are bombed in cold blood and destroyed. The entry of relief organizations in prevented, telephone lines are cut, and food and medicine are blocked so well that smuggling a bag of blood or a tablet of Setamol into the affected zones is considered a crime worthy of imprisonment in the detention camps, the details of which will one day horrify you.

In all its modern history, the world has not known such courage as that manifested by the Syrian revolutionaries in our towns and villages. Neither has the world known such silence, now considered complicity in the extermination of my people.

My people are a people of peace, of coffee and music I hope you will one day savor, of roses whose perfume I hope will one day reach your nostrils, so that you will understand that it is this heart of the world that is today exposed to genocide, and the entire world is an accomplice to the spilling of our blood.

I can say nothing more in these difficult times, but I hope that you will act in solidarity with my people through whatever means you judge appropriate. I know that writing is powerless and naked before the cannons, the tanks, and the Russian missiles that are bombing our towns and our civilians, but I have no desire for your silence, either, to be an accomplice to the murder of my people.

Mazen Maarouf

Palestinian poet Mazen Maarouf was raised in Lebanon and recently forced into a double exile in Iceland after criticising the Syrian regime. His third poetry collection, An Angel Suspended on the Clothesline, was published in Lebanon in 2011, after he had left. He has performed several poetry readings in Lebanon and participated in many international literary festivals. Mazen’s work has been translated into numerous languages.

Today even the most subtle poem in the Middle East has the power to incite, stimulate, excite, move, charge and nourish. Poetry is not a product of the bureau or the room, it is no more an ode recited between the walls of a classroom. It is now cultivated on the street, in the square and the alleys, in meeting rooms both real and on-line. The protestors are now the new paper for the poet, the medium of the poem. In the street nobody is silent, nobody is whispering the poem, they chant it defiantly. (“The poetry of revolution“)

Aqra l-poeżija “DNA” tradotta għall-Malti minn Antoine Cassar.

Autor Nikola Madzirov aus Madzedonien, Berlin, Hotel Bleibtreu, 24.6.2011
Nikola Madzirov by Thomas Kierok

Nikola Madzirov (1973) is one of Macedonia’s most distinguished poets. For the poetry from his book ‘Relocated stone’ (2007) he won both the Hubert Burda European Poetry Award and the most significant Macedonian poetry prize ‘Brothers Miladinov’. He has published poetry, essays and translations.  His poetry has been translated into more than fifteen languages and published in collections and anthologies in Macedonia and abroad. For his book of poetry ‘Locked in the city’ (1999) he received the ‘Studentski Zbor’ award for the best debut, while for his ‘Somewhere nowhere’ (1999) the ‘Aco Karamanov’ award. Nikola Madzirov is poetry editor of the e-magazine ‘Blesok’ and Macedonian coordinator of the international poetry net ‘Lyrikline’. Read poems by Nikola Madzirov.

Nikola Madzirov is one of the most powerful voices in contemporary European poetry. Born in a family of Balkan War refugees in Strumica in 1973, he grew up in the Soviet era in the former Republic of Yugoslavia ruled by Marshall Tito. When he was 18, the collapse of Yugoslavia prompted a shift in his sense of identity — as a writer reinventing himself in a country which felt new but was still nourished by deeply rooted historical traditions.The example and work of the great East European poets of the postwar period — Vasko Popa, Czesław Miłosz, Zbigniew Herbert — were liberating influences on his writing and thinking. The German weekly magazine Der Spiegel compared the quality of his poetry to Tomas Tranströmer’s. There is a clear line from their generation, and that of more recent figures like Adam Zagajewski from Poland, to Nikola Madzirov, but Madzirov’s voice is a new 21st century voice in European poetry and he is one of the most outstanding figures of the post-Soviet generation.

In this video by Neil Astley he reads from Remnants of Another Age, published by BOA Editions in the US in 2011, and by Bloodaxe Books in the UK in 2013.

Immanuel Mifsud

Immanuel Mifsud was born in Malta in 1967. He started writing poetry and prose when he was 16, and also began working with experimental theatre groups, directing his own plays and later works by Chekhov, Dario Fo, Max Frisch, Federico Garcia Lorca, David Mamet, Harold Pinter and Alfred Buttigieg. Various works by Immanuel Mifsud have been translated and published in a number of European countries and in the US. Immanuel Mifsud also writes for children, and has published a short story collection for children and a book of lullabies.

In 2005 his controversial short story collection Kimika (Chemistry) was labelled as “pornographic literature” and the original publishers withheld publication, and reviews, including those in left leaning newspapers, censured the book as “filth.”Ironically Kimika went on to place second in the National Book Award for 2005.

Immanuel Mifsud has participated in a number of prestigious literature festivals all over Europe and some of his poems were published in eminent collections such as New European Poets (Graywolf Press), The Echoing Years (Waterford Institute of Technology), In Our Own Words: A Generation Defining Itself (MWE), Les poêtes de la méditerranée (Gallimard), and The World Record (Bloodaxe Books) amongst others. In 2002, his short story collection L-Istejjer Strambi ta’ Sara Sue Sammut (Sara Sue Sammut’s Strange Stories) was awarded the National Book Award, and in 2011, Fl-Isem tal-Missier (u tal-Iben), translated into English by Albert Gatt as In the Name of the Father (and of the Son), won the European Union Prize for Literature.

Denisa Mirean Piscu
Denisa Mirena Piscu

Denisa Mirena Pişcu is a Romanian poet residing in Bucharest. She was born on August 22nd, 1980 at Rădăuţi, Suceava county. She graduated from the Faculty of Letters, University of Bucharest, followed by an interdisciplinary master at the Center of Excellence for the Study of Image. She has worked as a journalist and translator and as project coordinator at the Romanian Cultural Institute in Bucharest.Denisa Mirena Pişcu published the first selection of her poems in Astra magazine (Braşov, 1992), followed by the publication of poetry, prose and essays in various cultural magazines in Romania, such as Vatra, Viata Romaneasca, Bucureştiul Cultural, Ziua Literară, Suplimentul de Duminică, tiuk!, and Fracturi (which founded the literary trend fracturism).During the faculty years she published the underground booklet fluffy and mechanical, carmen collection no.9 (2002).

Her editorial debut was in 2003, at Vinea Publishing House, with a book of poems bearing the same title, Fluffy and Mechanical, which was awarded the prize for debut by the Association of Writers in Bucharest and the Writers Union, Brasov branch. During the years 2007-2008, she was involved in the international project Overcoming Dictatorships the Encounter of Artists, Poets and Writers, sponsored by the EU, gathering artists and writers from the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Romania and Poland. She has also studyied sound poetry for her master thesis. Her second full collection of poems, Disposable People, was published by Galway Print in Ireland in 2009. Watch: Denisa Mirena Piscu reading at the White House, Limerick, Ireland.

Monique Roffey_zghirMonique Roffey is a writer born in Trinidad and based in London. She owns two passports and likes to travel back home to Trinidad as often as possible. Apart from researching and writing books, she teaches Creative Writing in the UK and Trinidad, also in Cuba and Greece. She has published three novels and a memoir, edited an anthology of short stories, The Global Village, for Tell Tales, and published some short stories and even some poems.

She writes every day and sees it more as a way of life than a job. Between 2002–2006 she was a Centre Director for The Arvon Foundation, running Totleigh Barton, their writing centre in Devon. From 2006–2012, she held three posts with the The Royal Literary Fund, at Sussex, Chichester and Greenwich Universities.

In 2010, her second novel, The White Woman on the Green Bicycle (Simon and Schuster UK) was shortlisted for the Orange Prize; it was also shortlisted for the Encore Award in 2011. It has been hailed as part of a New Wave of fiction emerging from the Caribbean and Roffey sees herself as just one of a whole new generation of authors now coming of age and writing about the region. The White Woman on the Green Bicycle has since sold in the USA, Australia and Europe.

In July 2012 Monique Roffey published her third novel, Archipelago. In April 2013, Archipelago was awarded the OCM BOCASPrize for Caribbean Literature.

Karl Schembri

Karl Schembri (born in 1978 in Malta) is a Maltese writer and journalist. A sociology graduate from the University of Malta, he has written two novels, Taħt il-Kappa tax-Xemx in 2002 and Il-manifest tal-killer in 2006. He is also the co-author of the anthology of poems Frekwenzi ta’ Spriti fis-Sakra (1997) and co-editor with fellow author Adrian Grima of Id-Demm Nieżel bħax-Xita (2009) – an anthology of poems in solidarity with Palestinians published during the 22-day war on Gaza. He has reported extensively from Libya, Kosovo, Albania, and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and won the 2000 Malta press award for his reporting. He has also contributed to The Sunday Telegraph, Russian Newsweek and Guardian Weekly and is the founding chairman of The Journalists’ Committee. He is currently Media & Communications Officer at Oxfam GB in Gaza, Palestine.

Il-manifest tal-killer was censored by the University of Malta’s radio station, Campus FM, after the management learnt that it was going to be read in the literary programme series Wara Arrigo in January 2007. An adaptation by Bryan Muscat was staged in October 2008 by Lemonhead Productions. Fellow Maltese writer and critic Mario Azzopardi (born in 1944 in Ħamrun Malta) describes Schembri as ‘a pioneer in his generation that has assaulted his nation that is lubricated on hypocrisy, nepotism and corruption.’ He has read his poetry at various festivals in Malta, Lodève (France), Bali, and elsewhere. Collections of his poetry in Maltese and English are appearing in 2013.

Fahredin Shehu
Fahredin Shehu

Fahredin Shehu was born in Rahovec, South East of Kosova, in 1972. and graduated at Prishtina University in Oriental Studies. He then read for an M.A. in Literature and is now working on the PhD in Sacral Aesthetics.

Shehu actively works on Calligraphy, discovering new mediums and techniques for this specific form of plastic art.

Fahredin Shehu’s published books include Nun, a collection of  mystical poems (1996); Invisible Plurality, a book of poetical prose, (2000); Nektarina, a novel, transcendental epic (2004, Rozafa Prishtinë), Elemental 99, short poetical mystical stories (2006, Center for positive thinking, Prishinë); and Kun, a collection of transcendental lyrics (2007, LOGOS-A, Skopje, Macedonia); Dismantle of Hate, an e-book (2010, Ronin Press, London); Crystaline Echoes, poetry (hard copy and e-book 2011, Corpos Editora, Porto, Portugal); Pleroma’s Dew, poetry (hard copy and Kindle/ Amazon Edition, 2012 Inner Child Press, New York); and, his more recent publication, Emerald Macadam, a collection of essays, columns, opinions, presentations, and academic papers on culture, art, spirituality, 2012, Positive Initiative, Prishtina, Kosovo).

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