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By National Book Council Malta
15 minutes of Malta's favourite books narrated to you for your listening pleasure
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Ulied in-Nanna Venut fl-Amerka by Juann Mamo
Mark Vella reads from Ulied in-Nanna Venut fl-Amerka by Juann Mamo Mark Vella reads an excerpt from Ulied in-Nanna Venut fl-Amerka by Juann Mamo, originally published in parts between 1930 and 1931, and republished by SKS. Ulied in-Nanna Venut fl-Amerka is unanimously considered to be a cult novel. The book focuses on social and political life in early 20th-century Malta. In the author’s own words at the time, Ulied in-Nanna Venut fl-Amerka is meant to be a satirical, descriptive and semi-political novel ‘of our own times’. The book follows the many mishaps and tells the story of a group of Maltese emigrants in New York, with political overtones relating to the miserable state of backwardness the rulers of Malta had left their people in. The novel, compared to Cervantes’ Don Quixote, is comic as much as it is tragic, culminating in the tragic death of these migrants when back in Malta. About the author Juann Mamo, better known as the idiosyncratic author of Ulied in-Nanna Venut fl-Amerka, is probably one of the few Maltese writers who has continuously fascinated generations of readers. He was born in 1886, and spent time in jail from 1906 to 1912. Out of prison, he published his first writing in ‘Il-Bandiera Maltija’. He emigrated to Egypt from 1914 to 1921, where he communicated with Manwel Dimech, his intellectual leader. In 1941 he was found dead in Wied Babu, limits of Żurrieq, after suffering from rib fractures for reasons still unknown. He’s the author of Ulied in-Nanna Venut fl-Amerka (1930-31), Ġabra ta’ Sigrieti (1934) and Obstetricia Illustrata - Tagħrif fuq it-Twelid bil-Qabla u t-Tabib (1939), and the collection of short stories Ġrajja Maltija – Ġabra ta' Novelli (Klabb Kotba Maltin, 2010). About the reader Mark Vella edited Ġrajja Maltija (Klabb Kotba Maltin 2010), the hitherto unpublished short stories by Juann Mamo. If you liked Ulied in-Nanna Venut fl-Amerka, check out the following by Juann Mamo: Ġrajja Maltija – Ġabra ta' Novelli (Klabb Kotba Maltin) Buy Ulied in-Nanna Venut fl-Amerka here. This episode is sponsored by the National Book Council.
June 25, 2020
Having Said Goodnight by Pierre J. Mejlak
Sab Mulligan reads from Having Said Goodnight by Pierre J. Mejlak. Sab Mulligan reads ‘I went to see her’ from the short story collection Having Said Goodnight (Merlin Publishers, 2015) by Pierre J. Mejlak, and translated by Antoine Cassar. In this captivating collection of stories, people are often at a crossroads, moving from one point in their existence to another, trying to understand a life they have lived but perhaps never fully comprehended; in ‘I went to see her’ a son sets off on a journey to meet his dying father’s former lover. ‘I went to see her’ was first published in Maltese as ‘Mort naraha, pa’ in the European Union Prize for Literature-winning Dak li l-lejl iħallik tgħid (Merlin Publishers, 2011). The author Pierre J. Mejlak (b. 1982) is a novelist and short-story writer from Gozo. He has written books for children, a novel and two collections of short stories, winning him the European Union Prize for Literature, five Malta National Book awards and the Sea of Words European Short Story Award. His short stories have been translated into more than seven languages and have been anthologised by various international publishers. About the reader Sab Mulligan is dedicated to empowering children to dream big. She is the author of We're the New Superheroes (Faraxa Publishing, 2019), a book showing children that just like their favourite superheroes they too are brave and bold. If you liked the story, you may want to check out the following by Pierre J. Mejlak: Qed Nistennik Nieżla max-Xita (Merlin Publishers, 2009) Dak li l-lejl Iħallik Tgħid (Merlin Publishers, 2015) Buy Having Said Goodnight here. This episode is sponsored by the National Book Council.
June 25, 2020
De Profundis by Doreen Micallef
Nadia Mifsud Mutschler reads from De Profundis by Doreen Micallef. Poet Nadia Mifsud Mutschler reads two poems from Doreen Micallef’s collection De Profundis published in 1979 by Klabb Kotba Maltin. The first short poem ‘Meditazzjoni’ opens the collection, while ‘De Profundis’, after which the book is named, is one of the major works of Doreen Micallef. Her poems originate from a complex personality that carries an excruciating pain, mostly due to the fact that she was born with a physical impairment that conditioned her life significantly. Her body is, more often than not, felt to be a recipient of pain. A pain that she aestheticises in her poems, as she records her own metaphorical inner journey through Limbo, Hell, Purgatory and Heaven, and the hope of a rebirth. Nourished by her deep solitude, her poems continually reflect a yearning for dialogue. Paradoxically, however, while Micallef is driven by a strong need to communicate, her message is seemingly inexpressible; she suffers and writes, writes and suffers. About the author Doreen Micallef stands out as one of few female writers associated with the Moviment Qawmien Letterarju and, more importantly, as a pioneer of the feminist thought in Maltese literature. She published three collections of poems: Fit-Triq tal-Empirew (1975), De Profundis (1979) and Kyrie (1980). About the reader Poet Nadia Mifsud Mutschler is a lover of the smell of sea, the streets of the Three Cities, the sound of the violoncello at night, the chirping of the birds at dawn, and when words escape her she turns to fabrics. If you liked De Profundis, check out the following by Doreen Micallef: Poetry Fit-Triq tal-Empirew Kyrie Plays Wiċċ imb Wiċċ u drammi oħra This episode is sponsored by the National Book Council.
June 25, 2020
Erbgħin Jum by Antoine Cassar
Kenneth Scicluna reads from the twenty-ninth day and thirtieth night from Antoine Cassar’s Erbgħin Jum, a book-length poem. The book moves through forty days and forty nights narrating long walks, real or metaphorical, inducing reflections on childhood trauma, depression and walking as self-therapy. It was awarded with the Malta National Book Prize for Poetry in 2018 and has been shortlisted for the 2020 Gdansk European Poet of Freedom Award. The author Antoine Cassar is a Maltese poet and translator. Besides Erbgħin Jum, he is the author of Passaport, a long poem printed in the form of an anti-passport for all peoples and all landscapes, has been published in eleven languages, and adapted for the theatre in Malta, France and Belgium. As a translator, Cassar has rendered the work of fellow Maltese authors into English (notably the short stories of Pierre J. Mejlak, 2014 EU Prize for Literature) and Spanish (Alex Vella Gera’s novel Troyano, published in May 2019 by Librosdementira). About the reader Kenneth Scicluna lectures at MCAST and at the University of Malta, makes films, and is a member of the European Film Academy. If you liked Erbgħin Jum, you may want to check out Antoine Cassar’s: Passaport: edizzjoni aġġornata (EDE Books, 2020) Buy Erbgħin Jum here. This episode is sponsored by the National Book Council.
June 25, 2020
Fil-Parlament Ma Jikbrux Fjuri by Oliver Friggieri
Antonella Axisa and Mikhail Basmadjian read from Fil-Parlament Ma Jikbrux Fjuri by Oliver Friggieri. Actors Antonella Axisa and Mikhail Basmadjian read an excerpt from Oliver Friggieri’s Fil-Parlament Ma Jikbrux Fjuri, where an important dialogue about politics, philosophy and class struggle takes place between two politically estranged individuals. When the novel was published in 1986, it stirred political controversy: half of Malta ended up buying the book, while the other half shunned it. Friggieri presents to the reader the complex roots of conflict between the two political parties in the country. From this continuous struggle emerges Karlu Manju, who represents the individual who’s free from the psychological grab of the political class on the people. Fil-Parlament Ma Jikbrux Fjuri is a political novel, but it is also religious, and it tells the story of the power held by the common man. About the author Oliver Friggieri is Professor of Maltese Literature at the University of Malta. He is the foremost Maltese literary critic and a national author. He has published extensively and in his creative writing he attempts to interpret the sentiments and attitudes of a people living in the Central Mediterranean.He’s a poet, novelist and philosopher. About the readers Antonella Axisa is an actress and presenter with a love for languages and accents. Mikhail Basmadjian is an actor and graphic designer. He’s also a diver and a lover of cats. If you liked Fil-Parlament Ma Jikbrux Fjuri, check out the following by Oliver Friggieri: Novels Il-Gidba (Klabb Kotba Maltin) L-Istramb (Merlin Publishers) Ġiżimin Li Qatt Ma Jiftaħ (Mireva Publications) It-Tfal Jiġu bil-Vapuri (Mireva Publications) Short-stories Stejjer Għal Qabel Jidlam (Klabb Kotba Maltin) Fil-Gżira Taparsi Jikbru l-Fjuri (Grima Printing and Publishing Industries) Poetry Il-Kliem li Tgħidlek Qalbek (Mireva Pubications) Mal-Fanal Hemm Ħarstek Tixgħel (Merlin Publishers) Literary Criticism L-Istudji Kritiċi Miġbura (University of Malta) Buy Fil-Parlament Ma Jikbrux Fjuri here. This episode is sponsored by the National Book Council.
June 25, 2020
Amina by Antoinette Borg
Rachelle Deguara reads from Amina by Antoinette Borg Caption: Rachelle Deguara reads chapter 29 from Amina by Antoinette Borg. Amina is a 12-year-old girl who is a Maths prodigy. She lives on patterns, rules, diagrams. She sees life in figures. If you’re standing next to her, her mind is calculating how far away you are in meters and centimetres. She wins a prestigious place in a national six-week Maths-camp. However, it turns out that she has a bigger mystery than a Maths problem to solve – and she must set off on an adventure which will take her all the way to it-Torri l-Aħmar in Mellieħa. Amina is Merlin Publishers’ first novel featuring a black Maltese protagonist. About the author Antoinette Borg (b. 1973) left her twenty-year business advisory career to pursue her passion for writing. In 2016 she published her first novel, Fittixni, which went on to win the Terramaxka National Book Prize in the 13-16 years category. Her second YA novel (Ri)ġenerazzjoni won the Literary Contest of Novels for Youth and was published in 2018. Antoinette received the National Book Council’s Best Emerging Author award for 2018, and her third novel for youths, Amina, won her the 2019 National Book Prize for adolescents. She has just co-authored her latest work Innuendo (Merlin Publishers, 2019), consisting of 12 short-stories for adults. About the reader Rachelle Deguara is a singer known by her stage name REA. She likes to learn about anything, is involved in political activism and runs her own small enterprise. She currently conducts a radio programme on Maltese Literature. If you liked Amina check out the following by Antoinette Borg: Novels Fittixni (Merlin Publishers) (Ri)Ġenerazzjoni (Merlin Publishers) Short-stories Innuendo (Merlin Publishers) Children’s literature Il-Lukanda ta’ Martina (Merlin Publishers) Buy Amina from here. This episode is sponsored by the National Book Council.
June 25, 2020
What Happens In Brussels Stays In Brussels, by Ġużè Stagno
Steve Hili reads from What Happens in Brussels Stays in Brussels by Ġużè Stagno, published by Merlin Publishers in 2013.  What Happens in Brussels Stays in Brussels draws a sardonic and laugh-out-loud portrait of the Maltese abroad. The book follows a journalist and a group of constituents on a visit to Brussels’ European institutions organised by MEP Charlo Pulis. Once in Brussels, the trip degenerates into a series of small setbacks, accidents and misadventures that reflect the stereotypes and vanities of a large part of contemporary Maltese society ten years from Malta's accession to the European Union. The author Ġużè Stagno was born in the fishing village of Marsaxlokk, Malta in 1976. He is the author of four novels. For the past few years he has been living in Brussels, where he plies his trade as a conference interpreter. About the reader Steve Hili has been doing comedy in different forms for years (from breakfast radio to TV sketches via his adult pantos and mad theatre shows) in Malta, Australia, the UK and all over Europe. If you liked What Happens in Brussels Stays in Brussels, check out:  Ramon u ż-Żerbinotti (Merlin Publishers, 2008) Xemx, Wisq Sabiħa (Merlin Publishers, 2009)  Inbid ta’ Kuljum (Merlin Publishers, 2009) Ulied in-Nanna Venut fl-Amerka (SKS, 2013) ta’ Juann Mamo Buy What Happens in Brussels Stays in Brussels here. This episode is sponsored by the National Book Council.
June 25, 2020
Il-Manifest tal-Killer by Karl Schembri
Loranne Vella reads from Il-Manifest tal-Killer by Karl Schembri. Author Loranne Vella reads an excerpt from Karl Schembri’s novel Il-Manifest tal-Killer, first published in 2006. Il-Manifest tal-Killer had a difficult time being born. Initially, publishing houses turned it down, considering it as too vulgar.Described by poet Mario Azzopardi as the very first example of anarchic literature in Malta, the novel deals a lot with the issue of censorship and the sacred right of the citizen to sound his voice. The novel was also censored by University of Malta's radio station Campus FM, after the management learnt that it was going to be read on its station. An adaptation by Bryan Muscat was staged in October 2008 by Lemonhead Productions. Il-Manifest tal-Killer will be republished by Merlin Publishers later this year. About the author Karl Schembri (1978) is a Maltese poet, novelist and journalist. He graduated in sociology from the University of Malta. He has lived for four years in the Gaza Strip as a journalist and as a media officer with Oxfam. He is currently Regional Media Advisor in the Middle East with the Norwegian Refugee Council. He has published a collection of short stories and a novel, Il-Manifest tal-Killer. A collection of his Maltese poetry in Maltese was published in 2013, while a book of his poetry in English was later published in the US. His poetry has been translated in French, Spanish, Romanian and Arabic. About the reader Loranne Vella is a Maltese writer, translator and performer. Rokit, her latest novel, won the National Book Prize in 2018. If you liked Il-Manifest tal-Killer, check out the following by Karl Schembri: Short-stories Taħt il-Kappa tax-Xemx (Minima, 2002) Poetry Id-Demm Nieżel bħax-Xita (Skarta) Passju taħt ix-Xita (Horizons) Remember the Future (Writing Knights Press) Click here if you want to know more about Karl Schembri’s books. This episode is sponsored by the National Book Council.
June 25, 2020
Il-Linja l-Ħadra by Clare Azzopardi
Sharon Bezzina reads from Il-Linja l-Ħadra by Clare Azzopardi. Actress Sharon Bezzina reads the short-story ‘Jelly Babies’ from from Il-Linja l-Ħadra, a collection of original short-stories which includes a few that were originally published in English. Characterised by a unique narrative strategy, Clare’s prose is yet imbued with the ostensive familiarity of the subject matter. She manages to tell unpredictable stories by avoiding excessive stylisation and depicting the normal people living at the turn of the 21st century. Author Immanuel Mifsud commented: “Readers about to tackle [Il-Linja l-Hadra] should be prepared. In these stories, the familiar begins to seem strange, and the strange becomes familiar. Clare Azzopardi will lead you to places where you shouldn’t dare to pry.” About the author Clare Azzopardi is an award-winning author who writes for both children and adults. With Inizjamed, she has coorganised literary festivals and workshops. Her work has been translated into several languages and has appeared in a number of collections. Her play L-Interdett Taħt is-Soddawas published in French and in Arabic. Her teenage novella Frape was published in Latvia and in Spanish in 2018. Azzopardi has also published two books of short stories for adults, both of which won the National Book Prize for Literature – Il-Linja l-Ħadra (‘The green line’) and Kulħadd ħalla isem warajh (‘The names they left behind’). Her latest publication is Castillo, a detective novel with a twist, a novel about gender, motherhood, and the reverberating and unresolved echoes of political violence past. About the reader Sharon Bezzina is a theatre actress moulded by passion and dedication. You’ll definitely have trouble with her if you can’t keep an appointment. If you liked Il-Linja l-Ħadra check out the following by Clare Azzopardi: Literature for adults - novels Frejp (Merlin Publishers, 2012) Castillo (Merlin Publishers, 2018) Literature for adults - short-stories Others, across (Inizjamed, 2005) Għaraq Xort’Oħra (Inizjamed, 2013) Literature for adults - non-fiction L-Art tal-Kliem (Merlin Publishers, 2015) Plays L-Interdett Taħt is-Sodda (Merlin Publishers, 2010) Literature for children Il-Qtates ta’ Max-Xatt (Merlin Publishers, 2016) Jissokta l-Każ tal-Aħwa Saver u Ludmilla Demolizz (Merlin Publishers, 2017) Buy Il-Linja l-Ħadra here. This episode is sponsored by the National Book Council.
June 25, 2020
Fl-Isem tal-Missier (u tal-Iben) by Immanuel Mifsud
Mikhail Basmadjian reads from Fl-Isem tal-Missier (u tal-Iben) by Immanuel Mifsud. Actor Mikhail Basmadjian reads from the first chapter of Immanuel Mifsud’s moving autobiographical book Fl-isem tal-Missier (u tal-Iben) (Klabb Kotba Maltin, 2010). Mifsud, the youngest son born to a soldier in the British army revisits his father’s diary, aged 19, written in 1939. Prompted by the death of his father and the birth of his son, Mifsud weaves a subversive narrative concerning family relationships, grief and masculinity. About the author Immanuel Mifsud is a prolific poet and novelist. He is the recipient of a number of awards for his numerous novels, and short-story and poetry collections: the Malta National Book Prize for prose (2002, 2015), the Malta National Prize for poetry (2014, 2016), and the European Union Prize for Literature (2011). His latest latest short story collection, L-Aqwa Żmien (Klabb Kotba Maltin, 2019), has been described as a "brutal set of timely, topical and searingly painful explorations of the ones our society has left behind”. About the reader Mikhail Basmadjian is an actor and graphic designer. He’s also a diver and a lover of cats. If you liked Fl-Isem tal-Missier (u tal-Iben) check out the following by Immanuel Mifsud: Novels Jutta Heim (Klabb Kotba Maltin, 2014) Fid-Dlam tal-Lejl Ħarisna (Klabb Kotba Maltin, 2016) Short-Stories L-Istejjer Strambi ta’ Sara Sue Sammut (Minima Publishers, 2002) Kimika (Klabb Kotba Maltin, 2005) Stejjer li ma kellhomx jinkitbu (Klabb Kotba Maltin, 2008) L-Aqwa Żmien (Klabb Kotba Maltin, 2019) Poetry Il-Ktieb tar-Riħ u l-Fjuri (Self-published, 2001) Penelope Tistenna (Klabb Kotba Maltin, 2013) Ħuta (Klabb Kotba Maltin, 2016) Click here to find out more about Immanuel Mifsud’s books. This episode is sponsored by the National Book Council.
June 25, 2020
KwartaKtieb intro
Welcome to KwartaKtieb! Music 'Il-Post Viċin tax-Xatt', Djun (C)
May 20, 2020