Award-winning authors take centre-stage at Malta Book Festival

Attendees will be given the opportunity to meet and discover the works of award-winning authors Loranne Vella and Dr Lillian Sciberras at this year's Malta Book Festival

Loranne Vella (left) and Dr Lillian Sciberras (right)
Loranne Vella (left) and Dr Lillian Sciberras (right)

Award-winning authors Loranne Vella and Dr Lillian Sciberras will take centre-stage at this year’s Malta Book Festival, with a unique and important platform for authors who made or are still making significant contributions to Malta’s literary heritage.

As in previous editions, a number of events and activities will allow attendees opportunities to meet renowned authors, which will include Vella and Sciberras. 

Vella is a Brussels-based Maltese writer, translator and performer. Her first try at writing novels was marked by the publication of Il-Fiddien, a young-adult trilogy co-written with Simon Bartolo which steadily achieved a considerable following and was awarded the National Book Prize twice. Vella has also translated several books for children, two of which won the Terramaxka National Children’s Books Prize in 2015 and 2016.

Vella also published the fantasy novel Rokit, a story about time, space, familial roots, revolution and ultimately hope, which was also awarded the 2018 National Book Prize.

Rokit is a remarkable exercise of eco-fiction, exploring the fragmentation of Europe through the eyes of its young protagonist as he returns to a Malta under siege by the effects of global warming.

On 8 November at 7pm, Vella will be interviewed by fellow author Walid Nabhan on her multidisciplinary creative career, including her upcoming collection of short stories Mill-bieb ‘il ġewwa, due for publication in November and previously adapted into an interdisciplinary performance by the Barumbara Collective under her own direction. 

Alongside international guest authors Dave Rudden, Jon Courtenay Grimwood and Kali Wallace, Vella will also be discussing the role and perception of genre literature during the MBF opening conference about sci-fi and fantasy literature, Strange New Worlds, on Wednesday 6 November at 7 pm.

Alternatively, Sciberras will be wrapping up the festival with an event on 10 November at 5pm. Sciberras, whose contributions to Maltese literary culture have been recognised with the 2018 National Book Prize Lifetime Achievement Award, will be joined by Olivia Borg, novelist and playwright Vincent Vella, and National Archivist Charles Farrugia, for a panel discussion on her literary works and pioneering research in the field of Melitensia and library studies.

At the same time, the National Book Council will also be screening a short documentary film revisiting Lillian’s career directed by Charlie Cauchi, followed by a Q&A session.

Sciberras is the first professional librarian in Malta, she has continued to contribute extensively to Malta’s public libraries and librarianship in general and passed on her expertise to many of today’s librarians.  In 2006 she retired from her position as Senior Lecturer in Library Studies and Head of the Division of Library & Information Studies at the Centre for Communication Technology at the University of Malta.

Her contribution to Maltese literary culture spans over 50 years. In 2001, she obtained her PhD from London University with a thesis entitled Melitensia: Information Resource and National Memory. Her research interests lie mainly in the areas of national bibliographic development and related services, national memory, and Melitensia as a national information resource and as the country’s collective memory. 

This year’s Malta Book Festival will be held on 6-10 November. To find out more information visit

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