Anthology of subversive Maltese literature to be launched

A collection of subversive Maltese texts L-Antologia tal-Letteratura Mqarba (The Anthology of Mischievous Literature), is launching on Friday at the Malta Book Festival.

The anthology is published by new independent publishing house Dar Camilleri, run by author and former National Book Council chairman Mark Camilleri.

The launch is taking place on November 25 at the Author’s Hub within the Malta Book Festival at the MFCC, Ta’ Qali, at 7.30pm.

It brings together controversial Maltese literature from the past 40 years that suffered censorship and vilification.

“This is the ‘goat’ anthology of Maltese literature: the rebels, the savages, the outcasts, the dirty and the degenerates. It’s great literature but unusual and distinct,” Camilleri told Times of Malta.

The book includes works by authors such as Alfred Buttigieg, Immanuel Mifsud, Ġużè Stagno, Karl Schembri, Loranne Vella and Alex Vella Gera with commentaries by Shana Tabone, Kat Storace, Mark Vella, James Debono and Camilleri.

“These are some of the best deviant texts in Maltese literature accompanied by in-depth commentary by very incisive critics,” he says.

Among the texts is the infamous short story Li Tkisser Sewwi by Vella Gera, first published in the October issue of the student publication Ir-Realtàof which Camilleri was the editor, in 2009. The story landed both the author and the editor in court after being deemed injurious to public morals.

Within the anthology is also Schembri’s Il-Manifest tal-Killer and Mifsud’s l-Ultras tal-Classic tal-Чаддиема from the author’s L-Istejjer Strambi ta’ Sara Sue Sammut. Among the works is also l-Istorja tal-Isperma fl-Ews Persuna by Buttigieg from his book Dik il-Qtajrawhich was censored in the 1980s.

The launch will begin with an introduction by Camilleri followed by an interpretive reading from Buttigieg’s Dik il-Qtajra by actress Michela Farrugia.

A talk by Mark Vella will then provide some literary analysis on the texts of the anthology, after which the Publisher invites attendees to a reception at the stand of Dar Camilleri within the book fair.

“This is only the beginning of Dar Camilleri,” says the publisher. “We have big plans for next year including holding some events abroad.”

The Publishing house had previously published the satirical novel Ġaħan fl-Aqwa Żmien penned by Camilleri.

The novel was conceived as a response to the reference made last year by former justice minister Edward Zammit Lewis.

He had described Labor constituents as “Ġaħan” in a WhatsApp message sent to Yorgen Fenech, the suspect in the Murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

The news was revealed by Camilleri in November 2021, who published transcripts of chats between Fenech and Zammit Lewis in a blog post entitled ‘Beware of pigs bearing gifts’.

The launch of L-Antologia tal-Letteratura Mqarba (The Anthology of Mischievous Literature) is taking place on November 25 at the Author’s Hub within the Malta Book Festival at the MFCC, Ta’ Qali, at 7.30pm.

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