As part of the run-up to this year’s 11th edition of the Malta Mediterranean Literature Festival, Inizjamed is presenting a number of special events which are open to the public free of charge.

The first pre-festival event is taking place this Sunday at Spazju Kreattiv in Valletta where an encounter with poet Rodolfo Häsler will be held.

Häsler was born in 1958 in Santiago de Cuba, one year before the end of the Cuban revolution. He studied literature at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland. A poet and translator, Häsler’s poems have been published in several volumes. His work has been presented in numerous anthologies, including Anthologie de la Poésie Cubaine du XXème Siècle and Nueva Poesía Latinoamericana, and translated into English, German, French, Italian, Portuguese and Turkish. He has translated the complete poems of Novalis into Spanish, and also works by Kafka. Living in Barcelona since 1968, Häsler is co-editor of Poesía-Barcelona magazine.

During the event, Jean Paul Borg will be asking Häsler about the Cuban revolution and whether it has been romanticised. He will ask whether icons of the revolution, Fidel Castro and especially Che Guevara, are really the heroes that many have made them out to be. The Cuban-born poet will be asked to comment on any similarities between the Cuban revolution and the recent Arab revolutions of dignity and freedom.

This encounter is being held at a time when Cuba’s relations with the US have finally begun to thaw, but also when Häsler’s adoptive city, Barcelona, has become the focal point of a call for Catalan independence.

The discussion kicks off at 8pm and will be held in English.

Rodolfo Häsler: Leaning against the Edge, is being held in collaboration with Spazju Kreattiv.

• The 2016 edition of the Malta Mediterranean Literature Festival and the Malta LAF translation workshop are being held with the support of Arts Council Malta, Heritage Malta, Valletta 2018 Foundation, Għaqda tal-Malti – Università, the Fortress Builders – Fortifications Interpretation Centre, Spazju Kreattiv, and Highlight Arts. The festival is the recipient of the EFFE Europe for Festivals, Festivals for Europe label.

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