Maltese writer participates in Leipzig Book Fair
Posted on March 24th, 2010
On the initiative of the Embassy of Malta in Berlin and in conjunction with the Malta Council for Culture and the Arts, Maltese writer Immanuel Mifsud this year participated in the literature project “Small Languages – Great Literatures”. This was a joint project by several Cultural institutes/departments from European countries, held at the annual Leipzig Book Fair and also in Berlin.
The purpose behind the initiative is the further promotion and increased visibility of Maltese literature and culture in Germany.
On 19th March, Immanuel Mifsud read from his work together with Croatian poet Branko Čegec at the Leipzig Book Fair to a very interested audience, which enjoyed listening Maltese and other languages. The next evening, an additional reading event with Immanuel Mifsud and three other authors from Ireland, Romania and Serbia was held at the Haus des Buches / Literaturhaus, located in an modern building in the centre of Leipzig, it being a popular location for readings and other literature events.
This was part of the framework programme of the Leipzig Book Fair called “Leipzig liest” (Leipzig reads – readings are offered around town in bookshops, cafes or at the City Hall). The Leipzig Book Fair is one of Europe’s largest literary festivals for author readings and events and was this year able to register about 156,000 visitors, amongst them 45.000 experts. 2071 exhibitors from 39 countries presented the new books on 65.000 square meters.
In Berlin, Immanuel Mifsud read from his book ‘Kimika’ during a joint reading session with authors from Serbia, Romania, Croatia and Luxemburg at the prestigious literaturWERKstatt – one of the main locations for literature readings in Berlin. The readings and talks with the authors were moderated by renowned literary critic Jörg Plath, who writes, among others, for the Frankfurter Rundschau, Neue Zürcher Zeitung and Deutschlandradio Kultur.
Immanuel Mifsud was born in Malta in 1967 and started writing poetry at age 16, when he co-founded the literary group Versarti. Later on he directed plays by Anton Chekhov, Dario Fo, Max Frisch, Federico Garcia Lorca, David Mamet, Harold Pinter and Alfred Buttigieg.
Immanuel Mifsud has published a number of prose works and poetry, some of which have been translated into various languages and published in various European countries and USA. His 2002 short story collection Sara Sue Sammut’s Strange Stories won the National Literary Award. The same book was nominated for the Premio Strega Europa. Mifsud’s next collection of stories, Chemistry stirred a controversy for what was deemed as “pornographic literature”. The Left leaning press lambasted the book for its “filth”, while the leading Right leaning English newspaper never published reviews on this book. In 2008 Midsea Books published his work Stories Which Should Not Have Been Written.
Immanuel Mifsud writes also for children; his latest publication Orqod, Qalbi, Orqod being a collection of lullabies.
The Ambassador of Malta in Germany, John Paul Grech, attended the event in Berlin. The Embassy entertained those present with Maltese food.