Malta might be a tiny island, but it’s packed with talent and a mighty literary tradition. As a nation, we need to tell our stories to empower those distinct voices that make Malta, Malta.
So for this year’s World Book and Copyright Day, which is celebrated today, Lovin Malta and the National Book Council hit the streets of Valletta to see if people are indulging in works by the islands’ authors, playwrights and poets.
In this Vox Pop, we asked Valletta’s bookworms, casual readers and everyone in between to share their thoughts on reading, who their favourite Maltese authors are and whether they preferred physical texts or ebooks. If we liked their answers, participants even got a copy of some of Malta’s latest literary works to help them keep their reading streak alive!
Because sharing stories and ideas is how we become better versions of ourselves: as individuals and as a country.
Unsurprisingly, answers were considerably varied. It’s safe to say that the bookworm isn’t as popular as it was in pre-technological times.
The last Maltese books most read were back in their days at secondary school, which means that at the least, those authors left an impression on them as children. Of course, there were exceptions, with some enjoying works of the likes of Oliver Friggeri, Ġużè Chetcuti and Lou Drofenik.
Others said their love for Maltese books reignited by having children of their own, or that they exclusively read non-fiction papers for work. Thankfully only a few said they didn’t read anything at all.
One thing should be made clear, Maltese literature isn’t just books published in Maltese!
In fact, hundreds of books are published in Malta every year, both in Maltese and in English. In other words, Malta’s vibrant microcosm of literature has something for each taste, age and genre.
It’s no dispute that reading makes you smarter, but reading in the language of your country does more than just that.
Maltese books allow us to tap into the thinking of generations, giving us the opportunity to learn about our islands’ roots and new ideas to build a better country for everyone.
In a world where we’re all nose-deep in our phones, reading books is an act of rebellion. Basically, reading the work of Maltese writers can make you feel connected to your country, support artists and help keep the language alive.
So, why not pick up a local book and expand your mind? Here’s a list of local publishers to help you get started, all books can be purchased online!
Tag someone who needs to read Maltese literature!