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A literature festival brings young minds to a world of words

Children imagine weird and wonderful worlds during workshop

Photos: Katelia, Katel Delia (www.facebook.com/Katelia.Art), www.inizjamedmalta.wordpress.com

Photos: Katelia, Katel Delia (www.facebook.com/Katelia.Art), www.inizjamedmalta.wordpress.com

It has become customary for cultural organisation Inizjamed to organise several events in the run up to its Malta Mediterranean Literature Festival. One such event took the form of a creative writing workshop with children attending Kampsajf at Swatar’s parish.

The day started with a warm-up activity whereby Kit Azzopardi and Justine Somerville, two volunteers with Inizjamed, introduced themselves, the organisation and Clare Azzopardi as one of the authors participating in this year’s edition of the Malta Mediterranean Literature Festival.

This workshop would not have been possible without the help of Merlin Publishers and Fr Robert Grech together with his volunteers and leaders.

After familiarising themselves with a selection of Ms Azzopardi’s books for children, the youngsters at Kampsajf listened to an excerpt from Jake Cassar Isalva r-Renju tar-Re Pankrazju IV.

This allowed them to delve into a magical world full of colour and wonderful beings, the same world Jake Cassar finds himself in after swallowing the words that dripped from the pages of a book on a rainy day. The children were then invited to imagine themselves in a similar situation, swallowing pictures instead of words.

Working in groups, they created a new world on cardboard, using different pictures and other materials. They were encouraged to give their world a name and decide who lives on it, how they communicate, what they wear, and what kind of life they lead.

The children finally presented the worlds they created to each other. Among these were the world of Hocus Pocus, an enchanted world in the form of the letter H; the world of music, in which people lived on music notes instead of food and water; and the Messy World, ruled by animals with the hen as queen.

While exploring the creative process involved in inventing a new world and inviting them to unleash their imagination, the meeting also served to introduce the 13th edition of the Malta Mediterranean Literature Festival to a young audience.

The three-day festival brings together established authors from Malta, the Mediterranean and beyond, to showcase contemporary writing and thinking, to promote interaction across languages, geographies and artistic genres, and to discuss some of the major issues of our time.

Ms Azzopardi, head of the department of Maltese at the University of Malta Junior College, is among 12 writers participating in this year’s festival. She is an award-winning writer who writes for both children and adults and her work has been translated into several languages.

The Malta Mediterranean Literature Festival will be held on Thursday, Friday and Saturday at Fort Manoel, Manoel Island, Gżira, at 8pm.

During the readings on Friday, children are invited to attend an open workshop in Maltese and English on story writing through building papier mâché models. This parallel event, part of the Oħloq Kultura programme, is being organised by More or Less Theatre in collaboration with the Valletta 2018 Foundation.

Parents who would like to enrol their children for this workshop can write to info@moreorlesstheatre.com, indicating what time they will be attending.

This year’s festival will also feature Maltese and foreign poetry films, Maltese electronic music, a book stall, a book-binding stand by Kotba Calleja, drinks and a selection of food.

Entrance to all events is free.

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