Aleks Farrugia: ‘There is no permanence, everything is fleeting’

Writer Aleks Farrugia tells all in our Q&A

Aleks Farrugia is a writer, educator and political commentator. His collection of historical short stories “Għall-Glorja tal-Patrija”, won the National Book Prize in 2020. His play “Ġiraffa Ħarbet minn Kastilja” has just been produced by Spazju Kreattiv to public and critical acclaim

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

Complain that I’d rather sleep for another hour and then of course, coffee!

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

Life is too short for anger and regrets.

What do you never leave the house without?

My mobile and cigarettes.

Pick three words that describe yourself

Good-natured yet very critical and definitely disorganised.

What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?

Still has to be achieved.

What is your guiltiest pleasure?

Good food and wine (and it shows!).

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?

There is no permanence, everything is fleeting.

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

My books, I have over 3,000 of them.

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

That no matter how much I ran away from it, the need to write would always return to impose itself on my life.

Who’s your inspiration?

My daughter. I want to make her proud.

What has been your biggest challenge?

Parenthood. Will I ever be a good enough parent?

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


Do you believe in God?

No, but I am fascinated by mystics. I keep returning to their writings over and over again.

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

Aristophanes of course, the master of Ancient Greek comedy, and I am sure we would have quite a good time bashing politicians (ancient and modern) over a glass of good wine.

What’s your worst habit?


What are you like when you’re drunk?

Uninhibited. I might even sing karaoke just for a laugh!

Who would you have play you in a film?

Anthony Ellul, he would definitely bring out my comic side. Sorry Peter (Galea), you are too tall to play me!

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

Dishonesty. I have no respect for dishonest people.

What music would you have played at your funeral?

Hmmm! I love Requiems (and got quite a collection of them), but I can’t decide between Mozart’s or Berlioz’s. Perhaps Saint-Saens’ would be the most fitting: short and introspective.

What is your most treasured material possession?

An original copy of the Charter of Human Rights from the French Revolution. It is such a feeling to touch those pages that have seen so much history!

What is your earliest memory?

Jumping out of the playpen while my mum was out in the back garden doing some chores. Strangely I can still smell the plastic of that playpen.

When did you last cry, and why?

Secretly, after Julia, my partner, gave me a bottle of fine rum to celebrate the opening night of my play ‘Giraffa Harbet minn Kastilja’. I felt loved and appreciated.

Who would you most like to meet?

Oh, definitely noble prize winner Olga Tokarchuk! I would kiss the hands that write such fine literature.

What’s your favourite food?

Anything that gets life from the sea.

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

Does YouTube count? In that case, music critic Dave Hurwitz. Not only his videos are wonderfully instructive and engaging but the man himself is funny, witty and a straight-talker, a fine gentlemen indeed!

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

Ancient Greece, 5th century BCE: it’s when all our civilisation began.

What book are you reading right now?

I can name you at least four, since I read multiple books concurrently. To name just one of them ‘Trattato di Un Ribelle’, a translation in Italian of Ernst Junger’s Der Waldgang (The Forest Passage).

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

Stretch time, to manage all the things I want to do.

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

Live a good life. Life is one long project and death is what gives it meaning.

What music are you listening to at the moment?

The Blues, always. And lots of symphonic music.

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

I listen to lectures by Alessandro Barbero, Luciano Canfora and other luminaries, which otherwise I wouldn’t have time to listen to. Yes, you’ve guessed it – it takes me forever in the shower!