Everything you need to know about the 2022 Malta Book Festival

A comprehensive guide to the 2022 Malta Book Festival being held at the MFCC from 23 to 27 November

The Malta Book Festival, the largest local cultural event dedicated to books and reading in Malta, will be held for the second year in a row at the Malta Fairs and Convention Centre (MFCC), in Ta’ Qali. It will be held between the 23 and 27 November.

Here is everything you need to know about the five-day festival.

A complete cultural programme to discover

The events programme features more than 100 activities aimed at children, families, publishing professionals and the general public, including numerous book launches and presentations, meetings with authors, book signing sessions, seminars, thematic discussions and film screenings.

The festival events are being organised by the NBC in collaboration with participating publishers, authors, booksellers, student associations, NGOs and government agencies.


At the core of the festival will be a record number of 50 exhibitors, who are all linked to the book industry and many of whom are organising numerous events populating the festival programme. A wide range of books, including the winners of the National Book Prize 2022, will be available to the public. Discover who the exhibitors are at the Malta Book Festival 2022 here.

Book launches and presentations remain a staple part of the festival. Among others, Kotba Calleja will launch Ryan Falzon’s debut-novel Sajf, SKS will present Ġużè Orlando’s republication of L-Ibleh, and the University organisation Għaqda tal-Malti will launch the 41st edition of Leħen il-Malti. A seminar on book production will be held by Gutenberg Press.

A special programme for children and their families

The morning hours of 23, 24 and 25 November will be specially dedicated to registered students from schools in Malta and Gozo. All registered children will be handed a €5 voucher, allowing them to browse through the various exhibitors' stands and decide for themselves which book they will take home with them.

In collaboration with the Żigużajg Festival, schoolchildren will also be treated to two daily shows aimed at different age cohorts. During the first two days, the shows will be adapted from winning children’s books of Premju Terramaxka 2022, while Friday will be dedicated to ‘Striped Pyjamas: Meet John Boyne’, a performance with special guests John Boyne and illustrator Gattaldo. Registrations for these shows are now closed.

Children’s activities continue in the afternoons and at the weekend. On Saturday, children aged seven to twelve can enrol in an exclusive workshop with Gattaldo, the author of the children’s book Fearless for a one-off illustration workshop. As part of the festival's calendar, a further two shows by Żigużajg will also be organised for the whole family during the weekend.

Tickets for Coco the Singer and the Chocolate Finger can be bought here. Except for this show, all other events at the Malta Book Festival are free of charge.

In collaboration with Inspire Foundation, a sensory-friendly room will be set up inside the Rainbow Hall, offering an autism-friendly space for children on the spectrum to have access to storytelling activities in a safe and inclusive environment. 

The Energy and Water Agency will also be present at the festival, lending itself to children, presenting reading sessions and scientific experiments linked to energy and water security, sustainability and affordability.

Click here to find out more about all events for children and families.

International Guests at the Festival: John Boyne and Joe Sacco

John Boyne, the bestselling author of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (David Fickling Books), will be the headlining international guest as part of the international book tour for the publication of his critically acclaimed latest novel, All the Broken Places (Doubleday). Boyne will make his first appearance at the Friday shows for schoolchildren produced by Żigużajg. Later in the evening, he will be interviewed by the prize-winning local author Leanne Ellul and will be available for a book signing session.

World-renowned Maltese-American comic book artist and journalist Joe Sacco will be interviewed by Malta Today’s journalist James Debono on 24 November. A book signing session will then follow. On Saturday, Sacco will be on the panel for a discussion moderated by Teodor Reljić: Whats an Image worth – forms of visual storytelling, alongside photojournalist Joanna Demarco and illustrator Gattaldo.

Special Live Podcast with Jon Mallia

On the first day of the Festival, Jon Mallia will broadcast a live podcast, asking people about this relationship and which books have made it more robust. 

Other events organised by the National Book Council - celebratory evenings, audiovisual work, poetry

In collaboration with a number of its local and international partners, the NBC is organising several events showcasing its efforts in promoting Maltese literature. On 23 November, together with Aġenzija Żgħażagħ, a revamped edition of the Novels for Youth Literary Contest will be launched, and later on, during the same evening, a discussion moderated by Dr Immanuel Mifsud will pay tribute to the late Mario Azzopardi. On 25 November, this year’s Doreen Micallef’s National Poetry Contest winners will be announced, featuring readings by 2021 award-winning poet Carmel Scicluna and the 2022 winners.

On the morning of 26 November, a number of publishing industry-related events and talks will take place. John Boyne’s literary agent Simon Trewin will present the talk ‘Confessions of a literary agent’ about the agent’s role and will answer questions from prospective authors, published authors or individuals looking to embark on a career in publishing. Later during the day, Literary Speed Dating sessions with industry professionals (registration is needed to participate in this event) will be organised.

In the evening, Rena Balzan’s turn to be celebrated as the winner of the 2021 National Book Prize Lifetime Achievement Award. A short documentary film will be premiered, followed by a discussion with Rena moderated by Kit Azzopardi.

On 27 November, the authors and translators of Mikelin and Noè, lo scoiattolo giocherellone published in Italian by Verbavolant will be present at a book launch organised with Istituto Italiano di Cultura, La Valletta.

From Illustration to Book Exhibition

The exhibition From Illustration to Book, a collaboration between Arts Council Malta and the NBC, will take centre stage together with the exhibitors’ stands. It will showcase contemporary book illustrations and designs; selected works from the Malta Illustration Annual 2022 published by the Malta Community of Illustrators; earlier designs by Maltese personalities Trevor Żahra, Mario Azzopardi and Joe Sacco; illustrations of characters that marked the childhood of most Maltese children, namely Kunċett u Marinton, Fra Mudest, Il-Qtates tamax-xatt, and Ir-Ronnie; and a special selection of books designed and illustrated by Malta’s leading 20th-century artists.

Getting there

The NBC will be ensuring that, besides ample parking space at the MFCC north entrance, everyone can reach the festival by public transport thanks to enhanced bus routes offered by Malta Public Transport. A shuttle service from Valletta will be available, while the current routes leading to Ta’ Qali will be increased in frequency from Wednesday to Sunday.

Opening hours

The Malta Book Festival runs between 23-27 November at the following opening hours: on Wednesday and Thursday from 9am-1pm and 5:30pm-9pm; on Friday from 9am-1pm and 5:30pm-10pm; on Saturday from 9:30am-10pm, and on Sunday from 9:30am-8pm.

The full programme of events for the 2022 Malta Book Festival is available online here. For the latest updates, please follow the NBC website, and the NBC Facebook page and Malta Book Festival 2022 Facebook event page