Literary review website taken down after three weeks

The presumed author received threats, but denies having written for the portal

The website was taken down on Tuesday, but its Instagram account remains open
The website was taken down on Tuesday, but its Instagram account remains open

A book review blog that caused waves in the literary scene over the weekend has been pulled down mere weeks after its launch.

When the Malta Literary Review came to the scene, people were taken aback by its no-holds-barred approach to its literary criticism.

Its first article was a critique on Praspar Press, a micro-publisher that promotes contemporary Maltese literature written in English and English translation. The article discussed Praspar Press’s editorial standards, “or lack thereof” as the portal said in a promotional Instagram post.

The people, or person, behind the website then turned to Maria Grech Ganado, Malta’s first poet laureate, and the online literary journal Aphroconfuso. It also published a criticism of Mibdul, a six-issue comic book that received funding from the National Book Council, and called it “comically criminal”.

Last Saturday, Brikkuni frontman Mario Vella posted a link to the website on Facebook. He remarked that, while the anonymity was cowardly, the no holds barred approach was “refreshing and pretty entertaining”.

Literary enthusiasts picked up on the discussion and shared their two cents. Mario Aquilina, an associate professor at the University of Malta, commented that the “outspokenness” of the author is refreshing, but “the pettiness and the obvious personal gripes that this individual has makes the reviewing on this page seem childish”.

Writer Mel Hart also remarked that the reviews were superficial in writing, with no real depth. “If it wasn’t anonymous I think I would feel differently.”

Presumed author receives threats

As people began to speculate on who was behind the website, some turned to writer and journalist David Hudson, who had been critical of the literary scene in the past.

Hudson told MaltaToday that he had been approached by someone to help draft the mission statement of the website and set up the advertising framework for the website.

“Since the Instagram account was linked to my email, which was in turn linked to my Facebook, their first Instagram post was automatically shared to my Facebook. I removed the post, but people took screenshots and started to suspect it was me behind the website.”

Hudson said he never contributed to the website with any writings. Regardless, he said that he has received threats in relation to the reviews, directed towards him and his girlfriend Jasmine Bajada, who is also a poet.