University of Malta professor Toni Aquilina’s translation into Maltese of Daniel Rondeau’s Malta Ħanina has just been published, with the support of The Malta Book Council. The book, originally written in French, was first published by Éditions Grasset in January 2012.

Author, journalist, editor and diplomat, Daniel Rondeau was French Ambassador to Malta between 2008 and 2011. He left an indelible mark on our island, seeking every opportunity to promote Malta in the French media and to further the historical and cultural ties that have long existed between us and France. He was afterwards appointed French Ambassador to Unesco in Paris, where he is now representing the United Nations University think-tank. He is a well-known figure in French literary circles, having won various prestigious prizes, amongst others the Prix Populiste (1988), the Prix Liberté Littéraire (1994), the Prix des Deux Magots (1997), the Prix Saint Simon (2014) and the Prix Paul Morand of the French Academy for the totality of his work.

Monsieur Rondeau is also an authority on the Mediterranean. So Malta became his Mediterranean base from where, according to him, he could “better comprehend Europe’s root in the Orient, the beginning of civilisation in this inner sea”.

This very eclectic piece of writing introduces a new literary genre in the Maltese language

Malta Ħanina, one could say, records his memoirs of Malta. It is the offspring of a three-year intense relationship with our country and its people. In it become entwined his own life and our history with its many facets and voices. He brilliantly manages to slot heroes from our collective past into modern society aligning them with the lives of present-day personalities. To do this effectively, the author’s supreme command of the French language was put to the test throughout as he had to choose elements drawn from a variety of styles.

Professor Aquilina took up the challenge of translating this very eclectic piece of writing, thereby introducing a new literary genre in the Maltese language, that of the historical literary essay that moves parallel with and merges into the life journey and experiences of the writer himself.

Toni Aquilina has already published over 20 translations from French into Maltese and is a member of the Department of Translation and Terminology Studies within the Faculty of Arts of The University of Malta.

Malta Ħanina is available from leading bookshops or online.


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