Stacked to the ceiling
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Stacked to the ceiling

It's page turning stuff at the 25th edition of the Malta Book Fair

If someone were to give you €1 every time you heard the death of the novel being proclaimed, you would become very rich indeed. Same goes for the proverbial "poetry doesn't sell".

The truth is that such rumours are fiction. Especially now, when publishers, including local ones, are spreading the written word like never before.

Open tomorrow, the book fair is a five-day celebration of this. Now in its 25th edition, the Malta Book Fair, organised by the National Book Council and the Libraries Department within the Ministry of Education, will be held at the Mediterranean Conference Centre, Valletta.

The National Book Council says the aims of the book fair are to promote Maltese and foreign publications; bring a wide range of recent publications to the attention of the local reading public; encourage reading and establish a public conscience about children's literature; and foster professional contacts among publishers, printers, booksellers and librarians. Every year the book fair attracts some 20,000 readers while publishers take the opportunity to unveil their latest publications.

This year, among the new titles are the Maltese translation of Guido de Marco's The Politics of Persuasion (Allied Publications), Pupu fil-Baħar, Alfred Sant's latest collections of novels (SKS) and young poet Norbert Bugeja's exciting new poetry collection Bliet (Edizzjonijiet Emma Delezio, distributed by Sierra Books).

Besides the stalls, the Book Fair is also a hub of cultural activities, all free of charge.

• For more information visit www.ktieb.org.mt.


Merlin Library presents Tsek-tsik, an event where authors and readers get snap happy.

We have all complained about events where speeches go on and on. At Tsek-tsik there's no such risk: each speaker is given five minutes to talk about 15 images that are projected for just 20 seconds each. When the 20 seconds are up, the image automatically flicks to the next one.

Originating in Japan as Pecha Kucha Nights, this fast-visuals format has been adapted to the publishing world by the UK Society of Young Publishers, in the form of Canon Tales. The format is now being adapted for Maltese audiences by Merlin Library and the result is Tsek-tsik, an unusual evening being held on Thursday at 7 p.m.

Speed, creativity, fun, theatre: these are the event keywords, according to the organisers. The theme, of course, is books. Each of the "10 and a half" guest speakers is involved in one aspect or other of the publishing process: some are authors, some editors, others illustrators or designers, others critics, publishers, and of course readers, the end-user of the product we call a book.

Each guest will share some images and experiences from their area of expertise. If anyone still thinks publishing is some fusty old profession where tired individuals concoct tedious books destined never to be read, this is the evening to dispel that image. The guest speakers have all participated, whether as creators, contributors or readers, to the magic process that is the modern book.

The exciting thing about Tsek-tsik is that everyone has chosen a different angle, from serious to hilarious to reflective, and the end result promises to be a rollercoaster of ideas, concepts, deadlines, arguments, successes and failures that every creative has experienced at some point in their career.

The guest speakers are author and editor Clare Azzopardi, authors Ġużè Stagno, Trevor Zahra, Mario Azzopardi, and Pierre J. Mejlak, opinionist and reviewer Claire Bonello, designer Pierre Portelli, publisher Chris Gruppetta, illustrator Mark Scicluna, reader Robert Cordina and a mystery guest.

Tsek-tsik is not a book launch, nor is it a plug for any particular book, whether published by Merlin or otherwise. It is an informal chat among friends, a sharing of visuals, ideas and anecdotes, to which everyone is invited.

• For more information visit the Tsek-tsik event page on Facebook or contact Merlin by e-mail: mail@merlinlibrary.com.


Horizons go back in time to look at Malta's history.

L-Istejjer tal-Istorja (Stories from History) is the first hard-bound volume from a series of four written by Ġorġ Peresso. Although meant primarily for children, grown-ups will greatly enjoy these four stories based on different episodes in the early life of the Maltese islands, covering the Neolithic times and the Temple Period, the Phoenicians, the Romans and the shipwreck of St Paul. Each story is a mixture of imagination, written with verve and animation but based on true historical facts, some of which are explained through additional notes.

Kenneth Mizzi is the executive producer of the series, which has a colourful production that includes a CD of the stories read by the author himself and Ivan DeBattista. Music and sound effects enhance the storytelling.

It-Tifel tan-Nanna (Grandmother's Boy) is the third book by Ġorġ Peresso published by Horizons. It is the unique autobiography of a boy growing up in Vittoriosa, Birkirkara and Gżira during the war, in Cospicua almost completely destroyed during the war and then in Żabbar.

Mr Peresso explores and expand for himself and for the reader a world verging on magical reality, with a combination of a sense of fable told by an old story-teller with a vivid memory and attentive perceptions. Innocence and a sense of awe and guilt are mingled together in a style that is teasing, sensitive and humorous. It-Tifel tan-Nanna is a story of a boy in love with his childhood.

• For more information visit www.horizons.com.mt.


Allied Publications launch the Maltese translation of Guido de Marco's The Politics of Persuasion

As in all the past editions of the Malta Book Fair, Allied Publications will be one of the major participants through their distribution company Allied Retail & Commercial.

The main attraction at this year's fair will be Charles Abela Mizzi's Maltese translation of Guido de Marco's biography The Politics of Persuasion. Prof. de Marco, one of Malta's most influential politicians in the post-Independence era, is perhaps best known for his key role in the drive to take Malta into the EU. Yet his contribution to the building of the new Malta goes deeper than that, as he directly shared in the drawing up of the island's new economic and social architecture in the 33 years he served as a member of parliament, fittingly ending his service to the country as President of Malta.

In these memoirs, Prof. de Marco displays the same infectious sense of nationalism that had inspired prominent figures in the island's history. He chronicles the abuse of power and violence that characterised the local scene in past decades, and a constitutional crisis he helped to resolve. Personal brushes with death while visiting foreign lands as President of Malta and the UN General Assembly are vividly recounted, as is the excitement of the wind of change across Europe. Weaved into all this is Prof. de Marco's belief in the politics of persuasion.

Another major publication being presented is An Introduction to Maltese Financial Services Law by the Institute of Financial Services Malta and Ganado & Associates Advocates. This book aims at helping the financial services operator in Malta to rationalise the massive volume of laws and regulations which govern the sector. It provides an introductory review of at least 15 important aspects, from the laws of contract trusts and corporate structures to the laws of confidentiality, taxation, regulation, national interests, data and consumer protection. The review provides an international operator looking at Malta as a place of business within the European Union with a viewpoint on what Malta has to offer as it takes up the challenge of becoming an international staging post within the EU for financial services.

A book which will generate a lot of interest during the fair is the recently published Exploring the Maltese Media Landscape by Joseph Borg, Adrian Hillman and Mary Anne Lauri. This book is a collection of studies carried out by 14 leading Maltese academics wholly dedicated to different aspects of the Maltese mediascape. It is divided into two sections: one discusses the symbiotic relationship between society and its media structures, and the other delves into media content such as satirical cartoons and media use, particularly the use made by children and the input of TV on language learning.

One of the highlights of Allied Publications this year is the much- awaited book by Brian Blouet, The Story of Valletta, a fitting companion book to the author's major bestseller The Story of Malta. The Story of Valletta introduces the visitor to the historic planned city and also carries a guide to all the major buildings and museums.

• Other books published recently by Allied Publications featured on the ARCO stand are Sunset at Mistra Valley by Paul Borg, Il-Ħut Madwar Malta (Fish Around Malta) by Guido Lanfranco, Il-Kodiċi Vassalli by Richard Attard, and In Quest of Knighthood by Peter Serracino Inglott and Arja Nukarinen Callus.


All the chapters

Tomorrow

7 p.m. Launching of Alla Twajjeb Dejjem, a collection of Anton Buttigieg's poems compiled by Anselm Sciberras with a critical study by Oliver Friggieri.

Thursday

7 p.m. Tsek-tsik, a colorful event by Merlin Library Ltd.

Friday

7 p.m. Trevor Żahra presents Serata ta' Letteratura Tikka Mqarba.

Saturday

10 a.m. SKS launches Pupu fil-Baħar, Alfred Sant's latest collections of novels.

Sunday

5.30 Horizons present L-Istorja tal-Istorja written and read by Ġorġ Peresso.

6.30 Allied Publications launch Il-Politika tal-Persważjoni, Guido de Marco's autobiography translated into Maltese by Charles Abela Mizzi.

The opening hours of the Book Fair are: Today and tomorrow from 9 a.m. to 1.30 p.m. and from 5 to 9 p.m., Friday from 9 a.m. to 1.30 p.m. and from 5 to 10 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. and from 4 to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. and from 3 to 9 p.m.

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