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Gibraltar National Book Council Explores Literary and Cultural Collaboration at the Malta Book Festival - 740/2023

October 31, 2023

The Gibraltar National Book Council (GNBC) recently took part in the Malta Book Festival. The GNBC delegation, composed of novelist and academic M.G. Sanchez and Gibraltar Cultural Services’ Davina Barbara, met with various stakeholders from the Maltese literary and cultural scene, including the Malta National Book Council, Maltese authors, publishers and industry professionals.

The GNBC team joined various events, workshops and sessions at the festival, which attracted around 50,000 visitors over five days. They shared ideas and best practices with their Maltese counterparts on how to support local writers in editing, publishing and distributing their work.

The GNBC team also took part in a public discussion with the Malta Book Council Executive Chair Mark Camilleri, where they talked about Gibraltar’s literature, language, history, culture, the forthcoming publication of the volume Gibraltarians and their Language:Twenty-two Linguistic Biographies, and the Maltese efforts to encourage the use of Maltese in literature and daily communication.

The Rock Retreat’s Eleanor Dobbs joined the three panelists halfway through the session. She delivered a presentation on her work in Gibraltar and invited Maltese illustrators and Children/Young Adult authors to join other international creatives at The Rock Retreat to be held in Gibraltar in 2024.

Mark Sanchez said: “We were really impressed by the amount of work the Maltese cultural authorities are putting into promoting their writers and the Maltese language. We learned a lot from them and we feel we are now in a better position to promote both Llanito and the work of our own Gibraltarian writers.”

GCS’ Davina Barbara added “The experience has been positive and beneficial providing us with ideas and observations that can be applied to enhancing the delivery of literary events and programmes in Gibraltar. Additionally we have solidified our connection with the Maltese council and look forward to future collaborations to benefit both communities.”

The Minister for Culture, the Hon Christian Santos GMD, said: “This is exactly the kind of venture I want the GNBC to be involved in. The networking opportunities, as well as the experience for the local contingent are both extremely positive. Gibraltar’s literature and culture deserve to be put on the map and this collaboration is the first step in the journey I foresee the GNBC to take. My thanks to GCS, Mark Sanchez, and Eleanor Dobbs for their involvement as ambassadors for Gibraltar”.