Immanuel Mifsud: If there’s something you don’t want the whole world to know, tell it to no one

Writer and poet Immanuel Mifsud tells all in our Q&A

Immanuel Mifsud is a writer of poetry and prose. He has written six collections of short stories, six poetry collections, and also children stories. Mifsud became the first Maltese writer to be hosted at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C in 2017. Mifsud has had the honour of winning the National Literary award three times, in 2001, 2014 and 2015. He also won the European Union Prize for Literature in 2011 for Fl-Isem tal-Missier (tal-iben)

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?

From Monday to Friday I say “Good morning” to Jana and Nikol. Saturday and Sunday vary.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

If there’s something you don’t want the whole world to know, tell it to no one.

What do you never leave the house without?


Pick three words that describe yourself.

Difficult. Grumpy. Bore.

What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?

I tend to think that each day is an achievement.

What is your guiltiest pleasure?

I have many guilty pleasures, but let’s mention chocolate.

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?

Everybody – everybody – has their dark side.

Property and cars aside, what’s the most expensive thing you’ve ever bought?

My books. I have hundreds of them. They must cost a fortune.

What is one thing you wish you knew when you were younger?

That life is elsewhere.

Who’s your inspiration?

My parents.

What has been your biggest challenge?

Travelling by plane. First of all, I’m scared stiff of flying, secondly my disability has made things more difficult. And yet, I do travel quite a lot.

If you weren’t a writer what would you be doing?

Painting huge and expensive paintings.

Do you believe in God?

I wish I knew. I’m working on this.

If you could have dinner with any person, dead or alive, who would it be?

The man or woman who sculpted the Sleeping Goddess.

What’s your worst habit?

I worry too much, I panic and many times I drive my immediate family up the wall because of this.

What are you like when you’re drunk?

I don’t drink alcohol, I don’t smoke and I don’t do drugs. I told you I’m a bore.

Who would you have play you in a film?

He isn’t born yet.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?


What music would you have played at your funeral?

The final movement of Mahler’s Ninth Symphony. It’s long so my mourners will have to stand a long burial. Incidentally I don’t want to be cremated; I want to become one with mother earth.

What is your most treasured material possession?

My mother’s wedding ring, my father’s war medals.

What is your earliest memory?

It’s too melancholic. I’m skipping this one, although I recorded it in one of my books.

When did you last cry, and why?

23rd December. I cry every 23rd of December.

Who would you most like to meet?

The same person I want to have dinner with. See above.

What’s your favourite food?

Bread and butter. And French cheese.

Who’s your favourite person on social media right now?

No one.

If you could travel in time, where would you go?

I would go to Hal Saflieni, my hometown, on that very day the people living there started constructing the Hypogeum.

What book are you reading right now?

I cannot read only one book at a time. I’m reading The Tobacconist by Robert Seethaler, October Eight o’ Clock Stories by Norman Manea, Censored Poems by Marin Sorescu, and others.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be?


What’s one thing you want to do before you die?

I wish to see the Aurora Borealis.

What music are you listening to at the moment?

For some months now I’m listening only to Mahler and occasionally to Porcupine Tree.

In the shower or when you’re working out, what do you sing/listen to?