Miranda Publishers, known for being behind the much-acclaimed 360° series of books documenting Malta’s historical and cultural heritage, have just launched Karen Elizabeth Steed’s Malta: The Beautiful Hour to their list. Pre-publication the book has received positive reviews for offering a unique and refreshingly different look at the islands’ arts and creative communities.

In the book, Steed describes how ‘the beautiful hour’ is an ancient concept that describes a “moment in time when a person or place can be no better – when a peak of achievement has been realised”. This ‘hour’, she says, is now here.

The resulting book is a charming and insightful exploration of how a new generation of movers and shakers is shaping a surprising – and sometimes hidden – Maltese arts and culture scene.

The author says: “Fifteen years after joining the European Union, Valletta is the 2018 premier European Capital of Culture. This is the time for a new definition of Malta’s place on the world cultural stage.” And she goes on to tell us exactly what this “place” is – often with a light and humorous touch that never obscures her serious insights.

She by-passes the usual tourist talk and leads the reader into the heart and soul of the beautiful hour

Not content with just seeing and listening, the author personally plunges in first hand to experience what’s happening. She plays the music, speaks the language, dances and draws alongside Maltese artists to get new insights to add to her own strong personal voice.

She goes behind the scenes from street festivals to international opera, from folk and jazz to baroque, from priceless and little-seen 16th- and 17th-century wall paintings to cutting-edge contemporary art. Time-traveling through the layers of Malta’s history, she by-passes the usual tourist talk and leads the reader into the heart and soul of the beautiful hour.

Throughout, the book offers a lively, page-turning read that does not waste time with the obvious, but adds a new dimension of experience and insight for residents and visitors alike.

As one reader summed it up: “I had no idea all this was going on and I’ve lived here all my life.”

Born in Canada, Steed has now made Malta her home. She divides her time between a historical Victorian Sliema neighbourhood and a Gozo apartment surrounded by stunning views. Previously, she has worked as a writer, editor, publisher and literary agent.

Malta: the Beautiful Hour is available at all leading bookshops and online. For further enquires contact Miranda Publishers: info@mirandabooks.com.



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