Author and former National Book Council chairman Mark Camilleri has slammed the council for "discriminating against" and "damaging" his own publishing house.

In a statement on Sunday, Camilleri said the council was trying to “bury my business” by providing competitors with resources and supporting them directly. 

Camilleri runs an independent publishing house, Dar Camilleri, which was launched in 2021. The house had published the satirical novel Ġaħan fl-Aqwa Żmien also penned by Camilleri.

“It is indeed very challenging for a small business which has just started to compete against the ill will of a very resourceful government entity that is trying to destroy your business.”

Camilleri to hold book events on same dates as Malta’s Book Festival

Camilleri’s statement comes after the council announced that this year’s festival will take place between October 18 and 22 at the MFCC in Ta’ Qali. 

He said his publishing house will not participate but will hold its own series of book events on the same dates. 

Dar Camilleri, he said, will also seek legal options to claim material damages from the council. 

“We believe that under a government that protects criminals, attacks the press and a Prime Minister who directly attacks the book industry, the National Book Council is easily suspected of being used as a pawn for the Labour Party,” Camilleri said. 

Calls for council chairman's resignation

Camilleri also criticised his successor, also Mark Camilleri, who he says has no experience in the industry and lacks competence. 

The council chairman is a crime novelist who has penned six novels.

Camilleri said his successor had admitted "his antagonism against me by referring to me in a derogative way as an exile with a group of academics,” Camilleri said. 

Camilleri claimed that the council is trying to leak his personal and commercial data and information to his competitors and other book industry stakeholders. 

“Undoubtedly, the position of the current executive chairman is untenable and he should resign with immediate effect.”

Questions have been sent to the executive chairman.

Camilleri also called for publishers and authors to go beyond the council, be autonomous and have more power over their work and the industry. 

Camilleri’s name has been in the papers in recent weeks after last month he published transcripts of more than 2,200 WhatsApp messages between Rosianne Cutajar and businessman Yorgen Fenech. The messages shows that the two were intimate and on very close terms. 

He is currently living outside Malta as the police have been ordered to take criminal action against him for publishing the messages in defiance of a court order.

Camilleri is also the author of “A Rent Seeker’s Paradise”, which stirred controversy when it went on sale in 2021. The book criticises the Labour government and its links to corruption and bad governance. 

In the book, Camilleri claims that Cutajar had an affair with Fenech to get a leg up in her political career and that she had received “corrupt money” from him. Cutajar is suing Camilleri for the claims. 

Weeks following the publication of the chats and controversy, Cutajar resigned as a government MP earlier this month.  She retains her Parliamentary seat as an independent.


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