Clare Azzopardi: The most important lesson life has taught me is not to expect anything from anyone

When she is not teaching, you’ll find Clare Azzopardi writing or reading inside her 400-year-old house

(Photo: Giola Cassar)
(Photo: Giola Cassar)

When she is not teaching, you’ll find Clare Azzopardi writing or reading inside her 400-year-old house. Her work has been translated into several languages, and both her short-story collections for adults won the National Book Prize for Literature – Il-Linja l-Ħadra (The Green Line) and Kulħadd ħalla isem warajh (The names they left behind). Castillo is her first novel for adults. Her play, Tebut Isfar will also be staged in October

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

Grab the book on the bedside table. Then wait for my husband to bring me coffee.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

To be fearless.

What do you never leave the house without?

A book.

Pick three words that describe yourself

Positive, caring, feminist.

What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?

“Castillo”, my first novel for adults, launched last April.

What is your guiltiest pleasure?

Two packets of Twistees. One immediately after the other.

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?

Not to expect anything from anyone.

What’s the most expensive thing you’ve ever bought?

My peculiar, old, house.

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

That curls are beautiful and rebellious.

Who’s your inspiration?

The people I meet, the students I teach, my eldest sister, the characters in the books I read…

What has been your biggest challenge?

Quitting smoking. I still miss them. Even after three years!

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

A pianist.

Do you believe in God?

More to the point, does he believe in me?

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

Mary Meylak.

What’s your worst habit?

Snacking between meals.

What are you like when you’re drunk?

I talk nonsense and have a hankering for chips.

Who would you have play you in a film?

It’d have to be an animated film.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

Hypocrisy and envy.

What music would you have played at your funeral?

Mozart’s Lacrimosa.

What is your most treasured material possession?

A couple of first editions.

What is your earliest memory?

Me on a yellow swing in the back garden. I was about three years old.

When did you last cry, and why?

I cry too much.

Who would you most like to meet?

Margaret Atwood. She’s one of the best storytellers ever.

What’s your favourite food?

Fish and seafood: raw, grilled, al sale, al cartoccio …

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

No one on social media seems particularly interesting.

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

Back to the era of the Knights of St John.

What book are you reading right now?

I tend to read quite a few at the same time, but “Less” by Andrew Sean Greer is one of them right now.

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

I’d be able to speak all languages.

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

Travel around the world.

What music are you listening to at the moment?

Usually it’s what my husband’s listening to. We’re going through an electro-/acid-jazz phase.

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

I don’t work out. And I don’t sing in the shower.

Tell Us...

What’s the hardest part of being a writer in Malta?

That it’s considered a hobby by others and that you can’t live off writing. I wish I could just write.

What’s one of your all-time favourite books?

“Where the wild things are” by Maurice Sendak.

What advice would you give anyone interested in becoming a writer in Malta?

Spend more time reading than writing.

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