t has become customary for Inizjamed to take its annual Malta Mediterranean Literature Festival to audiences who might not attend such an event. In the past the cultural NGO organised successful workshops led by local and foreign writers for children and teenagers around Malta and Gozo with the aim of bringing young minds closer to the wonders of literature and creative writing whilst giving them a taste of the Festival.
After two years of holding sessions online due to the restrictions brought about by the pandemic, it was lovely to be able to return to the classroom this year, in an environment conducive to an intimate and warm atmosphere between the participants and the writer. Local writer Antoinette Borg led two creative writing workshops with groups of 7 to 8-year-old students attending Skolasajf at Mellieħa and Mosta.
The workshops started with a warm-up activity whereby the writer introduced herself and asked the participants about their hopes and dreams after recounting how a few years ago she parked her 20-year financial career in order to chase her childhood dream of writing a book. She then went on to discuss with them one of the questions she gets asked a lot as a writer: Where do ideas come from? Comparing ideas to balloons which one must grab before they fly away, she spoke about the books she wrote and what inspired the main ideas behind them. After discussing different ways of bringing ideas to life and writing authentic pieces of work by drawing on personal experience, being imaginative, and researching, the participants were encouraged to write their own story or poem. Finally, they enjoyed sharing their creative pieces with Antoinette, their teachers and each other.
When asked about her experience, Antoinette remarked “Leading the Inizjamed writing workshops was such a fun and rewarding experience! While I thoroughly enjoyed sharing my love and enthusiasm for writing and reading with the children, my favourite part was when they put pen to paper themselves. It was great to see their eyes sparkle with joy and excitement as they drew inspiration, expressed their thoughts, ideas and experiences on paper, and then shared their work with each other! Some of the children’s works were impressive, so here’s hoping that these workshops may have been the inspiration for a future author!”
Antoinette Borg is among the eight writers invited to participate in the 17th edition of the Malta Mediterranean Literature Festival. Her works include three original novels for young adults – Fittixni (Merlin Publishers, 2016) and Amina (Merlin Publishers, 2018), both of which were awarded the National Book Prize in their category, and (Ri)ġenerazzjoni (Merlin Publishers, 2018), winner of the Maltese Literary Contest of Novels for Youth.
Inizjamed would like to thank the Foundation for Educational Services, Ms Deborah and Ms Michela from the Mellieħa Centre, and Ms Annemarie, Ms Daniela, and Ms Shanice from the Mosta Centre.
The eight writers from different countries will come together to read and perform during the Malta Mediterranean Literature Festival on Friday and Saturday at Fort St Elmo, Valletta. This year’s edition will also feature music from The Velts, The New Victorians, and resident musician Effie Azzopardi and band. Books of the invited writers and others will be on sale by Mallia & D’Amatowhile Healthylicious by Stef and Kixott will provide the food and drinks.
This article has appeared originally on The Times of Malta of Wednesday, 24th August.