Inizjamed Blue White@0.5x

Festival Mediterranju tal-Letteratura ta Malta / Malta Mediterranean Literature Festival
Pre-Festival Events 2017

Pre-Festival Events 2017

Amministrazzjoni ġenerali: Leanne Ellul


Sunday 20th August, at 8.00pm | Blitz, 68 Triq Santa Luċija, Valletta

Literature and Pop Culture

Moderator: Ramona Depares. Speakers: Immanuel Mifsud, Arvis VigulsAsja Bakić.

This event is on Facebook

ramona depares
Ramona Depares

This session tackles the convenient, if simplistic, distinction, between high and popular literature, between the literature of the elite and the literature of the masses, between the literature of a well-read, perhaps snobbish cultural elite that attend ‘niche’ literary events, and the literature that strikes a chord immediately with ‘common people’. These distinctions sound like they make perfect common sense. But things, as usual, are far more complex, far more intricate than that.

To begin with, what constitutes ‘popular literature’? What constitutes ‘high literature’? What role does time play in distinguishing between the two? Time certainly plays a role in defining a work as a ‘classic’. But time is clearly not the only significant variable. So is it emotion, a work’s ability to move people? Is it context? Or it is perhaps a work’s ability to sell, to reach as wide an audience as possible? Is it all about numbers? How do themes affect the distinction between high and low (which is what ‘popular’ is often supposed to mean, when defined by the ‘elite’)? What role does intellectual complexity play? Can popular literature actually become high literature when the ‘stain’ of its popularity has been removed by time?

What external factors, from historical context to marketing, are at play when a work is classified as high or popular literature? And, above all, who decides? Who decides? Who classifies?

The simplistic distinctions at the core of this session could probably be dealt with by thinking of ‘great’ works of art that were hugely popular even when they were first published. Alternatively, how does one explain the popularity of festivals of ‘high’ poetry in Latin America and elsewhere? Is it because of what poetry means to people from all walks of life?

Event coordinated by Kit Azzopardi and Elizabeth Grech



Tuesday 22th August, 8.00pm, Malta School of Art, 106, Old Bakery Street, Valletta

Poetry as Public Space

Moderator: Antoine Cassar. Speakers: Lilia Ben Romdhane, Zoë SkouldingGjoko Zdraveski

This event is on Facebook

“Poetry makes nothing happen”, laments W.H. Auden in his elegy to Yeats. Or does it?

antoine cassar
Antoine Cassar

Neruda’s funeral quickly morphed into a silent but loaded protest against the recent CIA-backed military coup. Bei Dao’s poem ‘Answer’ was adopted as a defiant anthem of the pro-democracy movement during the Tiananmen protests. In Tahrir Square, demonstrators photocopied and distributed a poem by Tamim al-Barghouti, faxed in from abroad, before the erection of two makeshift screens allowing the poet to participate in the revolution in his own voice, by reading his verses to the gathering crowds.

Despite the unprecedented ease and speed with which poetry can today be published and spread, in these deflated, pessimistic times, the conviction that poetry can be an agent of political change becomes increasingly more difficult to maintain. At what point does that belief become a delusion? Does poetry still have a role to play as a collective good? How effective can poetry be today as a space for social or political discourse, for a solidarity that goes beyond the symbolic, within or across national boundaries?

From the collective to the confessional and back: Social media, and the flitting, haphazard manner in which we consume it, risks de-sensitising us; over time, news feeds can stir the tragic, the comic, the sublime and the ephemeral into an insipid, homogenous soup. Yet out of this white noise has come an astonishing rise in confessional poetry, particularly (but not exclusively) of young women trapped between conflicting cultures and stages of life. Through hundreds of thousands of likes and shares, the private becomes public to the extreme. Have the glamour and hypervisibility of such poetry reached a point of alienation?

The interview and discussion will take place in English; Lilia Ben Romdhane’s answers in French will be translated into English by Dr. Claudine Borg.

Entrance is free of charge.

Lilia Ben Romdhane (b. 1989) is a Tunisian poet with a particular interest in viewing the public domain as a living space. For the past five years, she has chosen to follow the Tunisian public sphere, performing in Tunisian dialect and thus creating a special relationship with both ‘the Tunisian’ as a phenomenon, and the complex and undetermined post-revolution Tunisia. In 2017 she performed at the Venice Biennale, as part of the Tunisian pavilion’s installation ‘The Absence of Paths’, focusing on questions of nation-state borders and migration.

Gjoko Zdraveski (b. 1985) is a Macedonian author of poetry, short prose and essays. He has published four books of poetry: Palindrome with Double ’N’ (2010), house for migratory birds (2013), belleove (2016), and daedicarus icaral (2017). His poetry has been translated into several European languages. He has participated in several European poetry festivals, including Festival Voix Vives (Sète, France) and the Ledbury Poetry Festival (England). Since 2015 he has been a part of Versopolis, a European poetry platform that creates new opportunities for emerging poets, supported by the Creative Europe programme.

Event coordinated by Antoine Cassar


Wednesday 23 August, 8.00pm, Maori Bar, Triq il-Lanċa, Valletta

Palk Ħieles/Open Mic

Open to performances by writers and singer-songwriters

Featuring Roger West and Kate Rex

This event is also on Facebook



Event coordinated by Jean Paul Borg


Friday 25 August, 7.00pm, Fort St Elmo, Valletta

The Double Agent: Literature for Sale

Luís Coimbra and Paulo Ferreira, publishing consultants at Booktailors, discuss literary agents and their role within the book market. This event is particularly relevant to the Maltese cultural scene and operators within the book industry since most publishers and authors double as agents themselves: What do authors have to keep in mind when selling their work? And how should publishers go about representing their authors abroad? How does one recognise a good deal that does not compromise the authors’ image?

This event is being held in the hall on the first floor overlooking the Piazza d’Armi.

Thanks to Clare Azzopardi and Kit Azzopardi


Saturday 26 August, 7.00pm, Fort St Elmo, Valletta

Speed Dating: Face to face with Literatures in Europe

Mika Buljević
Mika Buljević

Representatives from European literary organizations and institutions have 5 minutes to share information about opportunities in the field of literature and publishing

Alexandra Büchler and Sian Williams from Literature Across Frontiers and Literary Europe Live; Mika Buljević from Kulturtreger|Booksa, Zagreb; Juta Pīrāga from the International Writers and Translators House, Latvia; and Judit Böröcz from the Petöfi Literary Museum, Budapest

REGISTRATION through this link.


Dear All,

On behalf of Inizjamed, I would like to invite you to take part in the event Speed Dating: Face to face with Literatures in Europe which will be happening on Saturday 26th of August during the Malta Mediterranean Literature Festival.

The event will allow you to meet representatives from European literary organizations and institutions in an informal manner. It will be in the form  of a ‘speed dating’ encounter where the public will only have 5 minutes with each representative. It will be an opprotunity for you to meet different representatives from different European organistions and learn from their experiences.

Some of the representatives confirmed are: Alexandra Büchler and Sian Williams from Literature Across Frontiers and Literary Europe Live; Mika Buljević from Kulturtreger|Booksa, Zagreb; Juta Pīrāga from the International Writers and Translators House, Latvia; and Judit Böröcz from the Petöfi Literary Museum, Budapest.

The event will be restricted to a small amount of people and I encourage you to write back and confirm your attendance so as not to be dissappointed.

Wine will be available during the event.


Gianluca Spiteri



F’isem Inizjamed qed nistedinkom sabiex tieħdu sehem fl-attività Speed Dating: Face to face with Literatures in Europe nhar is-Sibt, 26 t’Awwissu waqt il-Festival Mediterranju tal-Letteratura f’Malta.

Din l-attività tista’ tlaqqagħkom ma’ rappreżentanti Ewropej li ġejjin minn organzizazzjonijiet u istituzzjonijiet letterarji u titkellmu b’mod inqas formali. Din l-attività se tieħu forma ta’ speed dating fejn il-pubbliku għandu 5 minuti ċans sabiex jitkellem ma’ kull rappreżentant. Din se tkun opportunità sabiex tiltaqgħu ma’ nies differenti u xxerrdu l-għarfien dwar il-letteratura Ewropea.

Uħud mir-rappreżentanti kkonfermati s’issa huma Alexandra Büchler u Sian Williams minn Literature Across Frontiers and Literary Europe Live; Mika Buljević mill-Kulturtreger|Booksa, Zagreb; Juta Pīrāga mill-International Writers and Translators House, Latvia; u Judit Böröcz mil-Literary Museum, Budapest.

Din l-attività hija restritta għal numru limitat ta’ nies. Għaldaqstant, nitlobkom sabiex tibagħtu dwar l-attendenza tagħkom.

Waqt l-attività se jkun hemm l-inbid.


Gianluca Spiteri

Palk Ħieles, il-Qala, Għawdex

Il-Ġimgħa, 14 ta’ Lulju

Koordinazzjoni: Jean Paul Borg, Elena Cardona – Ritratti ta’ Katelia Art (Katel Delia)

Nhar il-Ġimgħa, 14 ta’ Lulju, il-Palk Ħieles se jaqsam il-fliegu u jsorġi ġewwa Żeppi’s Pub, il-Qala, Għawdex. Għalhekk nistednukom biex bħas-soltu taqsmu magħna xi poeżija jew storja. Xi skeċċ żgħir u mużika oriġinali daqstant ieħor merħba bihom. Dak li ilu mħażżeż fuq karta wasallu l-waqt biex jixxerred. Taf tħoss qalbek tħabbat sitta sitta waqt li qed tagħmel dan, imma wara se tħossok aħjar. Il-lingwa tagħna hija t-traduzzjoni u għalhekk aktar kemm ikollna ilsna u djaletti aktar nieħdu pjaċir.

Dan il-Palk Ħieles se jagħti wkoll bidu għall-attivitajiet marbuta mal-Festival Mediterranju tal-Letteratura ta’ Malta u għalhekk se jkollna żewġ mistiedna speċjali – Immanuel Mifsud u Mark Camilleri, li huma tnejn mill-erba’ awturi Maltin li se jkollna waqt il-festival ix-xahar id-dieħel.

Bħal dejjem id-dħul u l-parteċipazzjoni huma bla ħlas. Għal iktar informazzjoni iktbu lil

On Friday, 14 July, the Open Mic will be crossing the archipelago and will then anchor at Żeppi’s Pub, in Qala, Gozo. Therefore, as always, we invite you to share with us a poem or a story. A stand-up or a music performance are equally welcomed. It is now time for those line that had been scribbled on a notebook to be aired and shared. At first you might be gripped by excitement, but once it is over you will surely feel pleased. Our language is translation and thus the more languages and dialects we have, the better.
This Open Mic will also be springboard all activities related to the Malta Mediterranean Literature Festival, and on the night we will have two special guests – Immanuel Mifsud and Mark Camilleri, that will be performing at the Festival itself come August.

As always, entrance and participation are free. For more information email


Kitba kreattiva ma’ Mark Camilleri fl-iskola tal-Belt

Bħala parti mill-attivitajiet ta’ qabel il-Festival Mediterranju tal-Letteratura ta’ Malta 2017, wieħed mill-awturi mistiedna, Mark Camilleri, li ħoloq il-karattru tal-Ispettur Victor Gallo, mexxa sessjoni ta’ kitba kreattivi mat-tfal li jattendu l-IskolaSajf tal-Belt Valletta, nhar l-Erbgħa, 9 ta’ Awwissu 2017.

Koordinazzjoni: Justine Somerville – Ritratti: Kit Azzopardi

workshop skola mark camilleri









Literature at the St Vincent de Paul Residence

This year’s XIIth edition of the Malta Mediterranean Literature Festival (MMLF) organized by cultural NGO Inizjamed features a literary event on Friday 28th July at 5.00pm at St Vincent de Paul Residence with Immanuel Mifsud, one of the invited authors.


Imagine yourself in a nursing home in your 80s or 90s. Imagine being dependent on younger staff for a number of your needs. You walk slowly or perhaps even use a wheelchair. You are perhaps mildly hearing impaired and have difficulty focusing well visually. Imagine you have to follow certain routines day in day out and are unable to go out as you used to so that you have less and less opportunities to socialize or attend events outside of the home. You loved reading but are having difficulties now or you simply loved a good story, like the rest of all fellow humans after all.


Enter the arts. The benefits of the arts for older adults are gaining an increasing evidence base for a variety of reasons, not least that of social inclusion and socialization but also that of entering into a dialogue with the self, with peers and with the various art forms.


Fl-Isem tal-Missier

Over the years Inizjamed has felt the growing need to open up and diversify its audiences. So in the run-up to the festival in August, it organizes a number of pre-Festival events, which also have started including new audiences. This year Inizjamed is collaborating with the Active Ageing Unit at St Vincent de Paul Residence, a long term care facility for older adults, to organize a reading with the reknowned author Immanuel Mifsud at the Residence. The activity titled “Fl-Isem tal-Missier” (“In the Name of the Father”) will be held on Friday 28th July at 5.00pm next to the Theatre at St Vincent De Paul. It will also include a short musical interval by Doriana Vella on violin followed by some refreshments at the end.  Everyone is invited to attend.

Held annually without fail since the first edition of 2006, the Festival is organized with the collaboration and support of Literature Across Frontiers (LAF), Arts Council Malta, Heritage Malta, Valletta 2018 Foundation, and Għaqda tal-Malti – Università. The MMLF is the recipient of the EFFE Europe for Festivals, Festivals for Europe label. Participating writers have been invited from eight Mediterranean and non-Mediterranean countries. Inizjamed is committed towards the regeneration of culture and artistic expression in the Maltese Islands and actively promotes a greater awareness of the cultures of the Mediterranean. In this year’s edition twelve writers from eight countries are reading at the festival, which also features two new Maltese poetry films commissioned by Inizjamed and the Valletta 2018 Foundation.


Intergenerational Event

The Strategy of Arts Council Malta (2015) sets as one of its objectives cultural inclusion and identifies older adults as a target group for engagement and promotion of intergenerational activity. The Festival is thus contributing towards this objective whilst also fighting ageism and negative assumptions about this target group, in so doing ensuring the recognized, deserved and encouraged cultural participation by this group in a space not normally associated with the Festival or with literature in general. This is in line with trends, practices, research and collaborations abroad between cultural and artistic organizations and older adults, all creating a positive image of creative ageing potential.

Inizjamed seeks to enter into dialogue with these older adults. It seeks to create a dialogue between the Festival and its authors and the heterogenous audience at St Vincent de Paul, bringing contemporary national literature closer to the people in the community who would otherwise have no opportunity of being exposed to the festival.

The guest author, Immanuel Mifsud is a poet, novelist and academic born in 1967. He is the recipient of a number of awards: the Malta National Award for Prose (2002, 2014), the Malta National Award for Poetry (2013), and the European Union Prize for Literature (2011). His works have been translated and published in a number of languages. He holds a Ph.D from the University of Malta and lectures in Maltese literature and literary theory.

So if you imagine yourself now again in your 80s and 90s, you can breathe and smile, because there are cultural organizations out there who will ensure that you will not be forgotten and who will also want to listen to your story too.

Priscilla Cassar