The IXth edition of the Malta Mediterranean Literature Festivalorganized by Inizjamed will be held on Thursday 4th, Friday 5th and Saturday 6th September, at the Msida Bastion Historic Garden, in FLORIANA, with the participation of Noria Adel (Algeria), Clare Azzopardi (Malta), Antoine Cassar (Malta), Marc Delouze (France), Abdulrazak Gurnah (UK), Walid Nabhan (Malta), Bel Olid (Catalonia, Spain), Marlene Saliba (Malta), Peter Semolič (Slovenia), Giacomo Sferlazzo (Lampedusa), and Anna Szabó (Hungary).
Clare Azzopardi (1977) lives in a 400 year old house. When she isn’t teaching, she spends most of her time reading and writing. She has written award-winning books for both children and adults. Her work has been translated into several languages and has appeared in a number of collections including Transcript, In Focus, Cúirt 21 and Skald. Her play L-Interdett Taħt is-Sodda was published in French (Éditions Théâtrales, 2008) and in Arabic (I-ACT, 2009). She has just published a book of short stories for adults Kulħadd ħalla isem warajh and is currently working on her first novel.
Noria Adel was born in Algeria in 1980. She is a poet and visual artist. She studied art and then moved to Syria where she lived until 2011. She describes this period as « a unique experience of an Orient which is fascinating and contradictory ». She was awarded the Unesco-Aschberg Bursary for Artists. Her works include : Damas / Alger, l’Allumeur de réverbères (Éditeur Chèvre-feuille étoilée, Montpellier, 2012), Youss veillera le marais, acte poétique d’un gardien (Éditions Al Bayte, Alger, 2009), Entorse géométrique (Éditions Mille Feuilles, Alger, 2009).
Antoine Cassar is a Maltese poet, translator, editor and cultural organiser, currently based in Luxembourg. His composition Merħba, a poem of hospitality was awarded the United Planet Writing Prize in 2009. Passaport, a long poem published in nine languages, has been adapted for the theatre in Malta (awarded Best Production and Best Actress at the 2010 MADC One Act Play Festival) and in France (by Compagnie D’Autres Cordes, on tour during the 2014-15 season). Cassar’s latest publications are the collection Bejn / Between (Ed. Skarta, 2011) and the booklet Mappa tal-Mediterran (Għaqda tal-Malti, 2013), a long poem describing the shapes of the Mediterranean Sea as seen from all four cardinal directions, in relation to the history of its peoples, including ancient and contemporary migrations. www.antoinecassar.info, www.passaportproject.org
Marc Delouze was born in Paris, and is a poet and traveller “by necessity”. His first poetry collection, Souvenirs de la maison des mots, was published in 1971 (prefaced by Louis Aragon). Three other publications ensued. After his initial success, he refused to “play the part of the poet” anymore, and chose not to publish anything for twenty years. During this time, he founded Les Parvis Poétiques (1982), a literary organisation that regularly organises festivals, acoustic exhibitions, readings, and events of various kinds. He also researched and worked on innovative methods of poetic expression in connection with modern urban life. In 2000 he set up the Festival Permanent des poésies dans le 18ème arrondissement, which takes place in the area of Montmartre (Paris) and features not only poets but also actors, musicians, dancers, singers, choirs, painters and video artists. Marc Delouze is also co-founder of and literary advisor to the poetry festival Les voix de la Méditerranée which takes place annually in Lodève (south of France). Among his latest works are the following : T’es beaucoup à te croire tout seul (Editions La Passe du Vent), Yeou, Piéton des Terres, L’homme qui fermait les yeux sans baisser les paupières (Le bruit des autres), rue des martyrs, Dames de Cœur, Epouvantails (Editions Lanore), C’est le monde qui parle (Editions Verdier) 14975 jours entre… (La Passe du Vent, 2012), Le Chant des Terres (La Porte, 2014).
Singer, songwriter, artist and activist, Giacomo Sferlazzo lives in an exceptional reality such as the one in Lampedusa, an island halfway between Africa and Europe, renowned both touristically and as a strategic military point. He published three compliations: Il figlio di Abele (Abel’s son) 2009, Lampemusa (Lampemuse) 2011, Quando sono assente mi manco (I miss myself when I’m absent) 2013 and another disc of experimental music with Jacopo Andreini: Nella pancia della balena (In the whale’s belly) 2013. In 2009 together with other Lampedusian youths, he founded the collective Askavusa. He is one of the organisers of the Lampedusa festival and PortoM: a permanent exhibition of migrant belongings transiting through Lampedusa that Askavusa collects and safekeep. Giacomo Sferlazzo is also an author and director of short films and musical videos, collaborating for years with Salvatore Billeci, a young local producer. He has also been involved with various magazines such as Pizzino, M, Mamma, Succo Acido and Ellin Salea. For the collective Askavusa, he is in charge of the political and artistic side, trying to pinpoint the issue of immigration in a wider context, emphasising on the link between immigration, economics and military interest, and the role of Lampedusa in respect to these realities in a global dimension.
Abdulrazak Gurnah was born in 1948 in Zanzibar and teaches at the University of Kent. He is the author of seven novels which include Paradise (shortlisted for both the Booker and the Whitbread Prizes), By the Sea (longlisted for the Booker Prize and awarded the RFI Temoin du monde prize) and Desertion (shortlisted for the Commonwealth Prize). Gurnah is the author of The Last Gift, Desertion, By the Sea, Paradise
Walid Nabhan was born in Amman, Jordan in 1966. His family originated in a small village in the outskirts of Hebron, Palestine. Walid took his first education in United Nations schools in Amman. He arrived in Malta in 1990 where he studied laboratory technology. In 1998 he graduated in Biomedical Sciences from Bristol University in England. In 2003 he gained a masters degree in Human Rights and Democratisation from University of Malta He published two collections of short stories in Maltese; ‘Lura d-Dar u ġrajjet oħra li ma ġrawx’, 2009 and ‘Leħen tal-Fuħħar’, 2012, and one novel ‘l-Eżodu taċ-Ċikonji’. His poetry and articles have appeared in several publications and anthologies.
Bel Olid (Mataró, 1977) translates, writes, teaches, reads. She has translated over 50 books into Catalan and Spanish, and has subtitled over 200 films since 1999.
As a narrative writer, she has published the novel Una terra solitària(Empúries, 2011) awarded the Documenta Prize for Narrative, the short story collection La mala reputació (Proa, 2012), awarded the Roc Boronat Prize for Narrative, and Crida ben fort, Estela! (Fineo, 2009) awarded the Qwerty Prize for the Best Children’s Book of the Year.
Her writing focuses on everyday violence, the difficulties people have to connect with eachother and the strangeness of life.
She also publishes short stories and opinion articles in the Catalan press. Her essay Les heroïnes contraataquen, models literaris contra l’universal masculí (Pagès, 2011) won the Rovelló Prize for Essays on Children’s Literature.
Bel Olid is a member of the board of AELC (Association of Writers in Catalan Language) and the president of CEATL (European Council of Literary Translators’ Associations).
Marlene Saliba has published two books of poetry, Time-Faring (1994) and Xbihat tal-Antenati / Ancestral Visions (2011), and papers on peace education and literature. She has taught English in schools and English literature at the University of Malta. She participated in various international cultural events, including the poetry festivals: ‘Voix de la Méditerranée’ in Lodève, France (July, 2002), and ‘Voix Vives, de Méditerranée en Méditerranée’ in Sète, France (July, 2010).
Peter Semolič born in Ljubljana in 1967, studied General Linguistics and Cultural Studies at the University of Ljubljana. He is the author of twelve books of poetry: Tamarisk (1991), The Roses of Byzantium (1994), House Made of Words (1996), Circles Upon the Water (2000), Questions About the Path (2001), Border (2002), The Bog Fires (2004), A Place for You (2006), The Journey Around the Sun (2008), The Milky Way (2009), Poems and Letters (2009) and Night in the Middle of the Day (2012). He has received many prizes for his work, including the two most eminent awards in Slovenia, Jenko’s Poetry Prize and the Prešeren Prize (the National Award for Literature and Arts). In 1998, he also won the Vilenica Crystal Award. Peter Semolič also writes radio plays, children’s literature and translates from English, French, Serbian and Croatian. His poetry has been translated into Italian, French, Spanish, English, German, Finnish, Polish, Hungarian, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Serbian, Lithuanian, Russian, Czech etc.
Anna T. Szabó is a poet, writer, translator. She was born in Transylvania (Romania) in 1972, moved to Hungary in 1987, studied English and Hungarian literature at the University of Budapest, and received her PhD in 2001. She has published seven volumes of poetry for adults and seven for children, written ten plays, and has received several literary prizes. She has translated many poems and lyrics, essays, novels, drama, radio plays and librettos, occasionally writes essays, newspaper articles and reviews, and takes part in the popular literary competition series of the Hungarian Television (Nyugat, Szósz, Lyukasóra). She also performs poetry together with several jazz and classical musicians, while working as a freelance writer and translator. She lives near Budapest with her husband the novelist György Dragomán and their two sons.