The first thing that happened as soon as I had to give up the reigns of the National Book Council, the Public Broadcaster called the Council and told its executive that its radio programme which had been going on uninterrupted for three years was to stop being aired.
Then, the government appointed a headmaster with my namesake as my replacement in order to attempt to erase my legacy altogether. This is his first job in the book industry (I’ve been involved in the publishing and printing industry since 2005). His first decision was to end the Facebook adverts of nominated books to the Book Prize – we had been doing these for at least five years. My ex-boss, Education Minister Justyne Caruana, had previously appointed her boyfriend as a consultant with a €15,000, three-month contract to visit schools and speak to children about football.
My ex-boss has no inhibitions about her amorality and she was quite open about it in December 2019 when she was seen with her other parliamentary colleagues in Parliament cheering to a selfie while the streets in Valletta were filled with protestors and half the country was enraged at the fact that the Office of the Prime Minister was implicated in the murder of a journalist. During that time, the National Book Council cancelled its Prize-Winning Ceremony which traditionally has been held in Castile.
My friends tell me that the opening speeches to the Festival were mediocre and a far cry from what I used to do. Last year I gave a speech about the economic challenges brought by the pandemic and our intention to re-launch the Book Festival in a better form and retain our aim to once again hit an all-time high in book sales. In the previous ceremony, I commemorated Daphne Caruana Galizia.
The Book Festival is taking place at MFCC. I hope we sell a lot of books.