The head of the National Book Council has been asked to hand over the keys now that his contract has expired.

The outspoken Mark Camilleri, renowned for not mincing his words, said on social media on Thursday that Education Minister Justyne Caruana had asked him to hand over the keys to the council’s employees.

“I spent more than seven years building this entity which didn't even have any employees when I had entered office. I built an entity with virtually zero budget to an entity with a budget of more than €1 million per year.

“I was a work-martyr for our book industry which literally needed saving and we ended up increasing sales and revenues for the industry substantially. We also modernised the legal framework and obtained premises in Valletta."

Camilleri said he had brokered the publication of a Maltese novel, which will be published by Peter Owen in London in October.

“This is a major coup and will practically launch us in the world of top-class global literature. I spent more than five years getting this done and it makes me very proud,” Camilleri said.

A Labour Party delegate who has been a vocal critic of the current administration, he added that the only reason he survived in his post during Labour's new administration was only thanks to the authors and publishers who supported him since.

Promises to return

“I thank you deeply from my heart. I also thank my fellow team members who have been great and extremely supportive. Makes me sad I didn't get a proper send-off, but I don't expect much in life. I regret nothing. And I will be back.”

Last month, Camilleri said he plans to publish a book which he says will expose “previously untold facts” about government corruption.

Last year, Camilleri was asked to resign by Caruana, after he got into a public spat with one of the lawyers representing alleged Daphne Caruana Galizia murder conspirator Yorgen Fenech.  

He had stayed on in his position after conceding that the foul language he had used in the post was not appropriate.  

In 2019, he had ended up in a heated confrontation with then education minister Evarist Bartolo, accusing the politician of backroom tactics to block the book council’s funding.  

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