A quick guide to the 2021 Malta Book Festival

A handy guide to the 2021 Malta Book Festival at the Malta Fairs and Conventions Centre from 3 to 7 November

42 exhibitors are participating in this year’s edition
42 exhibitors are participating in this year’s edition

With a broad list of participants from all sectors of the book industry and an events programme suited to everyone’s interests, the biggest celebration of book culture in Malta is set for a return to an in-person festival. Subject to the recommendations and guidelines from national health authorities, the 2021 Malta Book Festival will be taking place at the Malta Fairs and Conventions Centre (MFCC), Ta’ Qali, between 3-7 November 2021.

Children's show 2019
Children's show 2019

Children’s events

The 2021 Malta Book Festival is sure to provide a memorable experience for children visiting the festival and those tuning in from their classrooms. Introducing students to the magical and adventurous worlds from the pen of Malta’s best children’s authors, the Festival is partnering with comedy duo Danusan on performances adapted from the 2021 Terramaxka Prize-winning works. The live theatrical show ‘Il-Kotba Jieħdu l-Ħajja’ (Books come to life) will run daily, at 6:30 pm on weekdays, and at 4:30 pm for two special longer shows on Saturday and Sunday.

The shows will be free for the first time this year, but tickets must be booked ahead at showshappening.com.

School children also get a chance to join the Festival virtually from their classrooms for a specially curated interactive video quiz populated with stories, authors and characters from celebrated works of children’s literature. The quiz show is suitable for primary and secondary students and takes the form of an interactive video stream, allowing teachers to chart their own class’ path through the quiz at their own pace.

Vouchers for all participating students

Each student visiting the Festival or registered as part of a participating school will be receiving a €5 voucher redeemable from Festival exhibitors during the Festival and from their online stores. As of this year, post-secondary will also be eligible to receive student vouchers. Teachers and lecturers in Malta and Gozo will be receiving a circular on the registration process for their students from the National Book Council.

Cultural programme

In the coming weeks, the Malta Book Festival will be publishing its full five-day programme of events celebrating books and reading for audiences of all ages. The programme includes numerous book launches and presentations, meetings with authors, international guests, workshops, thematic discussions, film screenings, and a host of activities for children by the numerous exhibitors and publishers participating at the festival.   

Irvine Welsh
Irvine Welsh

Events not to miss

Irvine Welsh

The celebrated Scottish author of Trainspotting Irvine Welsh is this year’s special guest at the Malta Book Festival. He will be interviewed on Thursday 4 November at 7:30 pm by Wayne Flask and return the following day in conversation with Immanuel Mifsud in an event moderated by Mark Vella. Book your seat on ktieb.org.mt.

Trevor Zahra

Chris Galea (left) and Joe Azzopardi in Is-Sriep Reġgħu Saru Velenużi
Chris Galea (left) and Joe Azzopardi in Is-Sriep Reġgħu Saru Velenużi

On Saturday 6 November at 8:30 pm, the National Book Council will be paying tribute to the literary achievements of a household name of contemporary Maltese literature – Trevor Żahra. In celebration of the life and works of the recipient of the 2020 National Book Prize Lifetime Achievement Award, the NBC will be screening a short documentary about Żahra followed by an exchange with Żahra himself. Book your seat on ktieb.org.mt.

Film - Is-sriep Regghu Saru Velenuzi (A Viper’s Pit)

Following its debut in local cinemas this summer, here’s a chance to catch a free screening introduced by the film’s director Martin Bonnici of Is-Sriep Reġgħu Saru Velenużi, an adaptation of the 2021 prize-winning novel of the same name by Alex Vella Gera. On Sunday 7 November at 5:30 pm. Book your seat on ktieb.org.mt.

The 2021 Doreen Micallef National Poetry Contest

Join us for the announcement of this year’s winners and illuminating readings by the winning poets of the prestigious contest. Now in its third edition, it was first launched by the National Book Council in 2019 with the aim of further raising the profile of poetry in Malta and honour the best poetry written in Maltese. On Friday 5 November at 7 pm.

New Maltese writing in English

On Friday 5 November at 5:30 pm, Peter Owen Publishers are launching The Exodus of the Storks, the first english translation of Walid Nabhan’s L-Eżodu taċ-Ċikonji (2013). Managing Director at Peter Owen Publishers Nick Kent will present Albert Gatt’s translation of the 2017 European Union Prize for Literature winning novel with the author Walid Nabhan. Book your seat on ktieb.org.mt.

The 2021 Malta Book Festival place between Wednesday 3rd and Sunday 7th November at the Malta Fairs and Conventions Centre
The 2021 Malta Book Festival place between Wednesday 3rd and Sunday 7th November at the Malta Fairs and Conventions Centre

On Saturday 6 November at 5:00 pm, London-based Praspar Press will be presenting two new publications of Maltese literature in English and English translation: Scintillas: New Maltese Writing - an anthology of contemporary Maltese fiction, poetry and essays; and What Will it Take for Me to Leave, the upcoming translation of short stories by Loranne Vella.


42 exhibitors are participating in this year’s edition, including Malta’s leading publishers, bookshops, cultural institutes, NGOs, public entities and self-published authors, each of whom will be bringing their newest titles to the 2021 Malta Book Festival. Most have an established online presence facilitating online book purchasing.

  • Agenda Bookshop (Miller)
  • Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat
  • BDL
  • Bookends (Miller)
  • ĊAK - Reliġjon u Ħajja
  • Carmen J. Schembri
  • Creative Europe Desk Malta
  • Daniel Schembri
  • Dar tal-Pubblikazzjoni QUM
  • Deer Publications
  • Dunstan Hamilton
  • Ede Books / Kixott
  • Faraxa Publishing
  • Fondazzjoni Sagħtar
  • French Embassy
  • Friends of the National Archives of Malta
  • German-Maltese Circle / UOM - Department of German
  • Għaqda tal-Malti - Università
  • Heritage Malta Publishing/L-Akkademja tal-Malti
  • Horizons
  • Inizjamed
  • Istituto Italiano di Cultura La Valletta
  • Kite Group
  • Kiwi Publications
  • Midsea/Klabb Kotba Maltin
  • Midsea/Klabb Kotba Maltin Bargains
  • Lara Bezzina
  • Librerija Preca
  • Malta Libraries
  • Malta University Press
  • Mario Saliba
  • Marvellous Malta
  • Matthew Schembri
  • Mellieha Local Council
  • Merlin Library
  • Merlin Publishers
  • Merlin Publishers (backlist stand)
  • Narcy Calamatta
  • Paul Fenech Gonzi
  • Peter Calamatta
  • SKS Publishers
  • Teatru Malta
  • Wirt iż-Żejtun

The 2021 Malta Book Festival runs from Wednesday 3 to Sunday 7 November between 9 am and 9 pm. For more information, visit the Malta Book Festival Facebook page and ktieb.org.mtt

Book your tickets at showshappening.com