Leanne Ellul: To write well you have to recognize that sometimes you don’t write well

Leanne Ellul writes poetry, prose and plays. She is also the co-writer of a series of textbooks together with Clare Azzopardi. She teaches Maltese at post-secondary level. In 2013 she won Premju Francis Ebejer for the best Maltese script. She won a number of awards for her novel Gramma and also for her translations to Maltese of both Teresa and Inhobbok. In 2016 she won a national award for best emerging writer. Her poetry collection will soon be coming out and currently she is writing the last chapters of her second novel.

Leanne Ellul
Leanne Ellul

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

Hope it’s not 5am.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

To always make an informed decision.

What do you never leave the house without?

A book (of some form or kind).

Pick three words that describe yourself

Funny, over-thinker, minimalist.        

What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?

Being published at a young age.

What is your guiltiest pleasure?

A scoop (scoops, ahem) of ice-cream after dinner. Chocolate-cookie is my absolute favourite.

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?

To never ever give up. Somehow things always take a turn for the better.

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

An original painting.

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

That being an adult is not about watching 18+ films.

Who’s your inspiration?

Other women. I assimilate.

What has been your biggest challenge?

Weight. I was/am never happy with it.

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

Chef. I love to cook and experiment with all sorts of ingredients and techniques.

Do you believe in God?

Can I quote LP (Laura Pergolizzi)? “I asked the lord, she said maybe.”

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

Eva Peron.

What’s your worst habit?

Biting my nails – under stress.

What are you like when you’re drunk?

You wouldn’t want to know.

Who would you have play you in a film?

Lisa Kudrow.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?


What music would you have played at your funeral?

Stayin’ Alive by The Bee Gees.

What is your most treasured material possession?

My vinyl player.

What is your earliest memory?

At age 3 I remember splitting my forehead open whilst getting a teddy bear from the spare bedroom. I remember every minute detail.

When did you last cry, and why?

Today. I got a fine.

Who would you most like to meet?

My great-grandmother. My uncles and aunts recall her as a woman of stamina and full of cheer.

What’s your favourite food?

Pizza. Pizza. And did I mention pizza?

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

Definitely: Mel Aquilina!

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

The Victorian Era.

What book are you reading right now?

It’s never just one book. ‘The Subtle Art of not Giving a F*ck’ and ‘Knowledge of Angels’.

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

To shut people up. Especially those speaking bullshit.

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

Travel all around the world with my partner.

What music you are listening to at the moment?

My current favourite vinyl is “Dog eat Dog” by Joni Mitchell. Let’s say I’ve played it much more than once in the past week.

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

Aren’t they the same thing? I listen to my Spotify playlist.

Tell us...

What’s your all-time favourite book?

‘Le Petit Prince’ by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.

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

Never give up. But sometimes, do give up too. To be able to write well you have to recognize that sometimes you don’t write well, and you have to recognize your pitfalls. It is not easy, but not impossible.

What do you feel more comfortable writing, poetry or novels?

Can I not choose? They are so different and I write novels and poetry at different times and about different subjects. Besides, one does not exclude the other.