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Book Council explores collaboration opportunities in Malta

The Gibraltar National Book Council (GNBC) explored literary and cultural collaborations while it attended and took part in the Malta Book Festival.

The GNBC delegation, composed of novelist and academic M.G. Sanchez, and Gibraltar Cultural Services’ Davina Barbara, met with various stakeholders from the Maltese literary and cultural scene, including the Malta National Book Council, Maltese authors, publishers and industry professionals.

The Gibraltar delegation joined various events, workshops and sessions at the festival, which attracted around 50,000 visitors over five days.

They shared ideas and best practices with their Maltese counterparts on how to support local writers in editing, publishing and distributing their work.

The GNBC team also took part in a public discussion with the Malta Book Council Executive Chair, Mark Camilleri, where they talked about Gibraltar’s literature, language, history, culture, the forthcoming publication of the volume ‘Gibraltarians and their Language: Twenty-two Linguistic Biographies’, and the Maltese efforts to encourage the use of Maltese in literature and daily communication.

The Rock Retreat’s Eleanor Dobbs joined the three panellists halfway through the session.

She delivered a presentation on her work in Gibraltar and invited Maltese illustrators and Children / Young Adult authors to join other international creatives at The Rock Retreat to be held in Gibraltar in 2024.

After the event, Mr Sanchez said: “We were really impressed by the amount of work the Maltese cultural authorities are putting into promoting their writers and the Maltese language.”

“We learned a lot from them and we feel we are now in a better position to promote both Llanito and the work of our own Gibraltarian writers.”

Mrs Barbara, from GCS, described this experience as positive and beneficial in providing the team with ideas and observations that can be applied to enhancing the delivery of literary events and programmes in Gibraltar.

“Additionally we have solidified our connection with the Maltese council and look forward to future collaborations to benefit both communities,” she added.

For his part the Minister for Culture, Christian Santos, said: “This is exactly the kind of venture I want the GNBC to be involved in.”

“The networking opportunities, as well as the experience for the local contingent are both extremely positive. Gibraltar’s literature and culture deserve to be put on the map and this collaboration is the first step in the journey I foresee the GNBC to take.”

“My thanks to GCS, Mark Sanchez, and Eleanor Dobbs for their involvement as ambassadors for Gibraltar.”

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