The National Book Council has prepared a treat for all book lovers this summer: the Summer Book Festival – Gozo, a two-day event packed with cultural activities based around the themes of youth literature and poetry, besides being a fully-fledged book fair. The fair takes place in Gozo on Friday and Saturday at Sir M. A. Refalo Sixth Form in Victoria.
Friday is dedicated to literature for youth. Activities on this day include a panel discussion on the topic of Youth and Literature, which will touch upon various themes including youth literacy and the problems of addressing youth issues in a way that young people can engage with.
There will also be events that focus on particular authors who have distinguished themselves in literature aimed at or concerned with youth and youth issues. Among the guests, both for the panel discussion and the author events, there will be Leanne Ellul, who was the recipient of the Best Emerging Author Award in the 2016 edition of the National Book Prize. Her novel Gramma won the Literary Contest – Novels for Youth Award in 2014.
Antoinette Borg, Matthew Schembri, Roberta Bajada, Stephen Lughermo and Simon Bartolo, all previous winners of the Literary Contest – Novels for Youth Award, will also make an appearance in the festival with book-reading events and participation in the above-mentioned panel discussion. Authors Clare Azzopardi and Loranne Vella will be reading excerpts of their work for children and young adults.
Poetry will be the focus of the activities on Saturday. The main event, in honour of the late Gozitan poet Ġorġ Pisani, will be set up by the National Book Council and will feature readings of excerpts of the poet’s work and a discussion led by the poet’s son, Paul Borg Pisani. A number of well-known local poets will also make an appearance during various activities in the cultural programme on Saturday.
Michael Zammit will read his book-long poem, Għana ’l Hena; Norbert Bugeja will present his latest publication Nartiċi; Immanuel Mifsud will read excerpts of his award-winning poetry books; and Kenneth Wain will be reading from his poetry collection Who Looks at the Sun Anymore.
Poet Maria Grech Ganado, the recipient of numerous awards, including the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award for Contribution to Literature, will be interviewed by Norbert Bugeja, who will also read excerpts of her work.
The festival is open to the public and offers visitors the opportunity to browse the latest publications offered by the participants, which feature some of the biggest publishers in the local market, including Merlin Publishers, Midsea Books, SKS, Horizons and Faraxa, and some niche publishers and cultural organisations such as EDE Books, Calleja Books and the Malta Classics Association.
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