Week 02 March 2003
third degree with immanuel mifsud
Mention the name Immanuel Mifsud to any Maltese literature afficionado
and you will immediately get a nod of recognition and a quick
critique of his recently launched book, L-Istejjer Strambi ta
Sara Sue Sammut. When the collection of short stories first hit
the shelves, many were those who professed themselves surprised
at how effective this first book of Mifsuds was.
What few know is that Sara Sue is actually Mifsuds sixth
book. However, it was the first one to be accepted by a publisher,
Mark Vella of Minima Publishers. For the book, Mifsud was inspired
by people he met and the past which "haunts" him, especially
Mifsuds interest in literature started in 1983. Before
that year, he professes never to have touched a book, although
he always liked to write stories. 1983 was the year when he suddenly
became an avid reader.
If you had to be a food or a cocktail, what would you be?
If I had to be a food I'd choose to be caviar
that's expensive, and people tend to consider expensive food as
delicious, even if they don't like it. And if I were to be a cocktail
I'd choose Vergin, in keeping with my starsign, though I never
Someone hands you Lm10,000. What would you spend it on?
This is an easy one: I'd pay my debts on my house loan. I would
not have to stretch the payments until I'm forty something then.
If you wanted to impress a lover, what would you do?
Zero. I'll never manage to impress a lover. I'm full of ideas,
but I'll never manage to put them into practice. Also, my ideas
are very retro, so I would definitely manage to un-impress her.
Would anyone appreciate a poem? No. A bunch of yellow or white
flowers? Not even. So, no go!
What do you want to be remembered for?
For my books obviously. That's why I write them and that's why
all writers write. No matter what flowery reasons they bring forth,
such as self expression, political and/or social commitment and
writers write to be remembered after they die.
Whats the worst insult one can throw at you?
Mmmmm, let me think
this is a hard one
to think some more about it.
How would you describe yourself?
A coward, shy and ugly.
Which movie or song best describes your life?
Well, had you asked me this question when I was in my early
teens I would have said, "The Godfather" since back
then becoming a Mafia boss was my dream. The closest I got to
that was dating a Mafia boss' daughter when I was in Gioia Tauro,
Italy. But that was the end of that. So, let me see, at present
I'd think the movie which best describes my life would be
Studs Lonigan", a 1960 film directed by Irving Lerner. As
for a piece of music, I'd choose Beethoven's Coriolan overture
or Tchaikovsky's First Movement of his Sixth Symphony.
Are you a coffee or a tea drinker?
Neither. I only drink water, or Black Puschkin with Coke when
I'm with my close friends, or Becherovka when I get nostalgic.
Whats been the highlight of your career/life?
That's still to come, I hope.
How old do you feel?
Whats your best pick-up line?
Do I have one? I don't think so. It used to be: "Do you
believe in fairies?"
What are you like when youre drunk?
Talkative, funny and philosophical.
Do you consider yourself an introvert or an extrovert?
Introvert verging on the extrovert.
Live long or live fast?
Long long long long long, and if it's possible a bit longer
Tell us a recent dream
All my relatives were in this huge bed, which later I realised
was the world. Life was quite interesting in this bed-world. You
simply rolled from one part to the other of this bed which, now
I remember, was suspended in air and surrounded by white clouds.
The bed sheets were white too, with a silver floral design. You
could watch TV while you're in bed, surf the net, listen to music,
chat, even drive while you're in bed. I was watching the final
scene from 'La Boheme' in fact. And then I met an old girlfriend
of mine and decided to go for a party. So we rolled over another
part of this bed where a party was on. And we drank sparkling
wine and ate red chocolates. Then I lay surfing the net and realised
there was an explosion somewhere in America. You see all the world's
If money was no option, what would you be doing?
Hopping from one café to the other and writing.
Whats the most bizarre thing you have ever eaten?
Curried rice with milk, chocolate and cannabis.
Are you good at keeping secrets?
Yes [wink] and I have many of them.
If you had a time machine where would you go?
On that day our forefathers and foremothers started building
If you could be a fictional/real character, who would you be?
Do you believe in the supernatural?
Youre stuck in an elevator with strangers: what do you
Nothing. Just hope none of them gets hysterical.
Are you a workaholic?
Used to be. Maybe my dream above proves how I am no longer a
What are you most afraid of?
Darkness, dying and flying.
Would you quit a job without having another one lined up?
I don't think so. I'm too much of a coward.
Interview by Ramona Depares