a place in the medit***anean
adrian grima argues that maltese literature should write and promote itself locally and
internationally as a literature of the medit***anean and serve as a hub for literary activity in
the region. this requires a long-overdue injection of public funds and the establishment of a
maltese literature centre and allows maltese writers to engage with new audiences.
malta’s new wave writers are successfully introducing maltese literature to new audiences in
europe and the medit***anean, and there is a slow but steady increase in the number of works
of literature in maltese that have been translated into english and other languages. but while
most new eu member states (and non-eu european countries) have established centres for
the promotion of their literatures abroad and have allocated the necessary human resources
and funds, malta still lacks a strategy, let alone a maltese literature centre, and voluntary
organizations and institutions have to struggle to find the funds and other resources to
participate in eu-sponsored literary projects.
in november 2005, the literature across frontiers (laf) three-year project part-funded by
the eu culture 2000 programme, together with its maltese partner, the voluntary cultural
organization inizjamed, organized a symposium in malta on the international promotion of
literature. malta joined the project on the initiative of writer and translator maria grech
ganado, who came into contact with laf at a literary festival in finland and was determined
to make the project available to other maltese writers and stakeholders.
at the end of the “re-visions symposium on literary exchange in an enlarged europe” the
40 writers, literary translators, publishers, editors, organizers of literary festivals and
representatives of literature organizations from 16 european countries who met at st. james
cavalier passed a resolution about the translation and promotion of maltese literature abroad.
the resolution was accompanied by an excellent draft survey on the “promotion of literature
and support for translation in eu member states in central and eastern europe” prepared by
alexandra büchler, the ever-resourceful director of laf at the mercator centre, university
of wales, a valuable document for those who may be entrusted with the drawing up of
policies and structures for the translation and promotion of maltese literature. “from what we
have seen so far,” wrote ms. büchler, “it is obvious that even the smallest new eu member
countries give some 20,000 - 30,000 eur a year and that all have a scheme of some sort,
except for cyprus” [and malta].
the resolution called on the ministry of education, youth and employment and the ministry
of tourism and culture of malta to take concrete steps to promote maltese literature abroad.
“this requires a commitment on the part of the ministries concerned to establish the
necessary support framework for the professional promotion and translation of maltese
literature into other languages and for the translation into maltese of literature written in other
languages.” in this context, “support for co-operation projects in the field of literature is
the resolution, which was sent to the maltese authorities by alexandra büchler, maria
grech ganado adrian grima, and immanuel mifsud, on behalf of all the participants, called
on the two ministries concerned to establish a policy with respect to maltese literature and to
coordinate their initiatives related to the promotion (and translation) of maltese literature
abroad. in malta, although the promotion of and support for literature are strictly speaking the
responsibility of the ministry of tourism and culture, two important national institutions, the
book council, which organizes the book fair and runs the national book prize, and the
national language council, with its technical committee for literature, are appointed by the
ministry of education, youth and employment.
the laf survey attached to the resolution identifies the following minimum resources made
available for the promotion of national literature in the new member states:
the employment of a person to focus on this area on full time or part time basis
travel costs for writers and translators to be able to accept invitations to international
a translation fund
promotion costs - production of printed material
a website to serve as an important point of reference for the promotion of literature
staff travel costs
project costs (e.g. translation workshops)
the names of some of the institutional partners in the malta re-visions symposium are an
indication of the national structures that other european countries have set up to promote their
literatures: centre for slovenian literature, books from lithuania, fili - finnish literature
information centre, fund for the promotion of icelandic literature, latvian liter
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