Malta Mediterranean Literature Festival

Organised by LAF and Inizjamed in collaboration with the Birgu Local Council and the Ministry for Tourism and Culture

Sat. 29 - Sun. 30 Sept - Couvre Porte, Birgu - 8.00pm

Entrance Free

Inizjamed, in collaboration with the Birgu Local Council and with the support of the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, will be organizing a Mediterranean Literature Festival on Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 September at Couvre Port, Birgu with the participation of a host of writers from Malta, Algeria, Catalonia, the Czech Republic/UK, Italy, Palestine, Turkey, and Wales. The Maltese funk band Zizza Ensemble will be performing with some of the writers during the Festival.

This major literary event is being held as part of a project organised by LAF [Literature Across Frontiers] and part-financed by the Culture 2000 programme of the EU. The invited foreign writers are Alexandra Büchler (UK/Czech Republic), Valerio Cruciani (Italy), Samira Negrouche (Algeria), Biel Mesquida (Catalonia), Fatena al-Ghorra (Gaza, Palestine), Robert Minhinnick (Wales), and İpek Seyalıoğlu (Turkey). The local writers who will be reading their work are Clare Azzopardi, Antoine Cassar, Maria Grech Ganado, Adrian Grima, Immanuel Mifsud, and Walid Nabhan.

GUT FEELING, a short art film by installation and video artist Pierre Portelli, will be shown on Sunday. This short film is inspired by the thoughts and reflections of writer Robert Minhinnick on Strait Street: a street in decay in the bustling port city of Valletta. It also includes contributions by writers Laima Muktupavela and Mikko Rimminen who were in Malta in 2006 for the Sealines writing project organised by LAF.

On Thursday 27 September, at 9.00pm, the film El Mar (The Sea) by Biel Mesquida will be shown at St. James Cavalier, Valletta. A talk about the film will follow.

Inizjamed and the National Orchestra were recently chosen by the Ministry of Tourism and Culture as Ambassadors of Intercultural Dialogue in recognition of the work they have done in this area over the years. This is Inizjamed's first public event as one of Malta's Ambassadors of Intercultural Dialogue.

Visit for more about this international festival and all the participants.

Fatena al-Ghorra (Gaza, Palestine)

Fatena al-Ghorra (Gaza, 1974) graduated in Arab Literature in Gaza. She worked as a volunteer in several projects related to women's rights, and was a presenter of various local radio programmes before becoming the culture correspondent for the news agency Wafa. She is the author of two books of poetry, There is still sea between us (Gaza, 2000) and A Very Seditious Woman (Egypt, 2003). Her works have also been included in the anthologies Fifty years of Palestinian Poetry (Ramallah, 2004) and in A World without a Sky.

Valerio Cruciani

Valerio Cruciani graduated in Italian Literature and Philology at the University of Rome with a dissertation involving a critical study of the highly influential Roman literary magazine Marforio. Cruciani studied the relationships between various dialects used in literary genre as compared to the Italian modern language. His short stories have been published in several literary reviews, including"Carta", "Accattone dei Piccoli", "Next Exit", and His first collection of poetry, entitled Le città hanno gli occhi sempre aperti was published in 2005. Some of his translated and published works are: - An interview with Milan Dobricic, an interview with Manuel Lechado Garcia and Le Malentendu by Albert Camus (from French).

Biel Mesquida (Catalonia)

Biel Mesquida (Castelló de la Plana, 1947) holds degrees in Biology and Information Sciences and is well known as a critical voice both within and outside of the realm of fiction. His first novel L’adolescent de la sal (The Adolescent of Salt, 1975) is one of the most original and innovative texts of contemporary Catalan literature. Notable among his more recent works are Doi (1990) and Excelsior o el temps escrit (Excelsior or Time in Writing, 1995), which received the City of Barcelona Prize and the Critics’ Prize, and Vertígens (Vertigos, 1999), which won the1998 Llorenç Villalonga City of Palma Prize and the Valencian Writers Critics’ Prize.

Robert Minhinnick (Wales)

Robert Minhinnick was born in 1952 in Neath, South Wales. His publications include: two collections of essays: Watching the Fire Eater (1992), winner of the 1993 Arts Council of Wales Book of the Year Award; and Badlands (1996), essays about post-communist Albania, California and the state of Wales and England. He has also edited Green Agenda: essays on the environment of Wales (1994). His book, To Babel and Back, was published in 2005 and won the 2006 Wales Book of the Year Award.

Samira Negrouche (Algeria)

Samira Negrouche, who was born in Algiers and works as a medical doctor, is a francophone poet and writer. She is the author of a number of collections of poetry, including L’Opéra Cosmique (2003), Iridienne (2005) and Cabinet secret (2007). She also writes for the theatre and for many literary magazines and anthologies. As a passionate translator, she works mainly on contemporary Arab poetry. She regularly reads and performs with artists from other domains, such as the video and visual artist Ammar Bouras and jazz musicians Dimitri Porcu and Lionel Martin.

İpek Seyalıoğlu (Turkey)

İpek Seyalıoğlu was born in İstanbul in 1976. She studied in İstanbul (Marmara University and Boğaziçi University) and in Paris (Paris VIII. St.Denis-Vincennes). Her first play, Copper Shield (Bakır Kalkan) recieved the Jury Special Award in the literary competition organized by İsviçre Hastanesi in 2003 and was published in the same year. She has translated poetry, prose and film subtitles. Her short stories have been published since 2004 in the Turkish literary monthly Kitap-lik.

Zizza Ensemble (Malta)

Zizza Ensemble is an angular funk foursome with a cartoonish swagger and a wicked streak. The band plays an (inevitably) eclectic mix of Funk, Ska, Jazz and Blues Rock. Zizza Ensemble's first incarnation dates back to the year 2005, when a group of young people with an interest in swing and bossa nova decided to put together a band. After some line-up changes, the band grew disillusioned with its musical direction, and ditched the jazz standards and jam numbers in favour of its own brand of malevolent funk. The members of Zizza Ensemble are Steve Delia on guitars, Ruth Abela on saxophone, Charles Cassar on bass, and Mark 'Zizza' Abela on drums.