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Special guest for virtual Malta Book Festival 2020

Sir Ahmed Salman Rushdie

The National Book Council has made an exciting announcement: celebrated author Salman Rushdie is set to be the special guests of this year’s virtual edition.

The incredibly talented provocateur has penned a number of classic novels, influenced a generation of writers and even received a Queen’s knighthood for his “services to literature” standing as both pop culture icon and one of the most thought-provoking proponents for free speech today.

The Indian novelist Rushdie is well known for his works that combine magical realism with historical fiction, and most of his novels are set on the Indian subcontinent.

His most popular work is ‘Midnight’s Children’, for which he won the prestigious Booker Prize in 1981 and later, the Best of the Booker. The novel has since been adapted to film by Academy Award- nominated director Deepa Mehta.

Sir Salman’s novels, always greeted with anticipation and acclaim, also include ‘The Satanic Verses’, ‘The Moor’s Last Sigh’, ‘The Ground Beneath Her Feet’ and ‘The Enchantress of Florence’.

Rushdie has served for two years as president of The PEN American Center, the world’s oldest human rights organisation.

The site was declared a bird sanctuary and passed under the management of BirdLife Malta. Permanent bodies of water are a rarity in Malta, making the wetland and associated habitats at Is-Simar important for the rare ecosystems they harbour.

Conversation with Dr Alfred Sant

dr alfred sant

Photo: newsbook.com.mt

At the Malta Book Festival, Rushdie will be interviewed by former Prime Minister Alfred Sant, who himself has penned a number of published works, ranging from novels to short stories and plays. What’s more, between 1996 and 1998, Sant served as Prime Minister of Malta and was elected as a Member of the European Parliament in the 2014 and 2019 elections.

On five separate occasions and in different categories, Sant has been the recipient of the National Book Prize and most recently, the 2019 National Book Prize Lifetime Achievement Award.

His first novel, ‘L-Ewwel Weraq tal-Bajtar’ (1968), published when he was just 19, is a watershed moment in the development of Maltese literature, announcing the advent of the contemporary novel.

Other landmark novels include the early-70’s ‘Silg fuq Kemmuna’ (1982) and ‘La Bidu, La Tmiem’ (2001).

Sant is also a renowned playwright, with the satirical ‘Balzunetta Towers’ (2017) as his most recent work within the genre.

The discussion, which will be shedding light on the influences, achievements and current preoccupations of the two great writers and their respective cultural milieu, will be moderated by Prof. Clare E Vassallo, Associate Professor of Semiotics and Translation Studies at the University of Malta. It will also be streamed online on 11 November at 7pm.

Q&a with the public

The next day, Sir Salman will be directly engaging with students and readers from the general public, in the form of a digital Q&A.

The number of spaces is limited to 40 audience members.

Participants interested in booking a place at the Q&A are invited to submit the single question they would like to ask the author – the more unique and fascinating the question, the better the chances of booking a lace.

Questions can be submitted to Michael.mercieca@gov.mt by 31 October 2020, with the subject line: ‘MBF2020 Q&A’ and include name and surname.

The Q&A with Sir Salman Rushdie is being organised in collaboration with the Department of English at the University of Malta.

Check out the National Book Council Facebook here for the latest updates.