The Maltese Literary Scene: Exporting an Emerging Literature Despite Translation Challenges

The Maltese Literary Scene: Exporting an Emerging Literature Despite Translation Challenges

13 Mar 2019, 15:30 - 16:30

Literary Translation Centre
Language:
English

The Literature of Malta boasts a unique feature: since its earliest text in 1450 it has been written in no less than six languages. Maltese and English only became Malta’s official languages in 1934, therefore Maltese was transformed from an oral means of communication to a national written language just over 80 years ago.

In this seminar the challenges of exporting Maltese literature abroad will be discussed, including the issue of helping potential foreign publishers go beyond their superficial/touristic impression of Malta's culture and history, and the difficulty of Maltese authors in finding a literary agent.

 

Malta is a melting pot of cultures facing language choice and post-colonial identity issues, although the Maltese language has become a signifier of national pride, a means to establish a truly Maltese-only identity. But what does it take for Maltese literature, particularly in its more contemporary expression, to be considered outside of the shores of a small island and beyond the borders of a minority language?

Translation issues will be tackled, including an analysis of the foreign languages Maltese books are being translated into and why, and untranslatability when it comes to the latest literary bilingual strategy trend (which reflects actual language use and code-switching practices in Malta). The concept of showcasing Maltese culture to a transnational readership will also be discussed. What happens when the Maltese writers in question are living abroad? What is their impact on Maltese literature? How does their diaspora status affect them? Who, then, becomes their audience?

 

The Literary Translation seminar programme is produced with the help of funding from Arts Council England and Amazon Crossing Sponsorship

Contributors

  • Jen Calleja

    Chairperson

    Writer and Literary Translator

    Jen Calleja is a writer and literary translator from German. She has translated works by authors including Wim Wenders, Kerstin Hensel, Marion...

  • Antoine Cassar

    Speaker

    Poet

    Antoine Cassar is aMaltese poet and translator. Erbgħin Jum (40 Days, EDE, 2017), a book-length poem about childhood trauma, depression, and walking...

  • Lou Drofenik

    Speaker

    Novelist

    Lou Drofenik grew up in Malta and now lives in Victoria, Australia. She was an educator in the private school sector and is now a full-time writer....

  • Loranne Vella

    Speaker

    Novelist

    Loranne Vella is a Maltese writer, translator and performer. Between  2007-2009 she co-wrote the three National Book Prize winning volumes of the...

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