Trevor Zahra: ‘My books are my most treasured material possession’

Renowned Maltese author Trevor Zahra tells all in our Q&A

Trevor Zahra
Trevor Zahra

Since writing his first children’s adventure, Il-Pulena tad-Deheb (The Golden Figurehead) in 1971, Trevor Zahra has penned over 130 works of novels, poems, workbooks and short stories in Maltese. Zahra illustrates all his publications, especially picture books for young readers. He has won the national literary prize a record 18 times for both children and adult fiction. In 2004 he was honoured with the Medal for Service to the Republic for his contribution towards children’s literature

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

Toilet... and switching on my PC

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

“Come on... you can do better!”

What do you never leave the house without?

My mobile.

Pick three words that describe yourself

Positive, agreeable, workaholic

What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?

I’m still waiting for something to crop up.

What is your guiltiest pleasure?

Chocolate, pasta and all things edible

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?

In time I will lose all that’s dearest to me.

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

I hate expensive things... just Ray-Ban sunglasses perhaps!

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

Spanish. I wish I could read Latin American literature in its original version.

Who’s your inspiration?

My childhood and people around me.

What has been your biggest challenge?

Finding original material for my stories.

If you weren’t an author what would you be doing?

Acting. I just love the theatre.

Do you believe in God?

Yes. God has a very important place in my life.

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

My late wife.

What’s your worst habit?

Taking a two-hour siesta (at least)!

What are you like when you’re drunk?

The last time I’ve been drunk was some 50 years ago.

I just can’t remember what it was like. Perhaps it’s time for a reminder.

Who would you have play you in a film?

Danny De Vito.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?


What music would you have played at your funeral?

Some song that begins with the words: “Good riddance”!

What is your most treasured material possession?

My books.

What is your earliest memory?

Spending summer holidays at our small country place at St. Thomas Bay.

When did you last cry, and why?

Whenever I hear music I really love.

Who would you most like to meet?

My late wife, my mum and dad, grandparents, uncles and aunties.

What’s your favourite food?


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

Gerry Scotti.

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

Malta. 1800s.

What book are you reading right now?

Collection of short stories by Katherine Mansfield.

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

Flying... but not in Malta during the hunting season.

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

Publish a book about my late uncle, the artist Guzeppi Caruana.

What music are you listening to at the moment?

Romance in A major by Schuman.

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

Nothing! I love and sound of silence... and water!