The National Book Council, which I headed and built for eight years, has recently issued an Annual Report of its work in 2021. It’s basically all projects and work which I had started and was working on with my previous colleagues, and the report does not make reference to me anywhere. The new chairman, who bears my name (in a very sneaky move by the government in order to confuse people about my legacy), ended his message with a petty and spiteful quote by Churchill on how change is so important, somehow justifying his occupation of the office. He’s a headmaster with no experience in the private or book industry and part of the lineup of government bażużli heading public entities. My contract was discontinued by a corrupt Minister and her Permanent Secretary who were later on forced to resign and are also subject to a criminal investigation.
Basically, the entity of today has been constructed during my tenure. I hired all the current employees at the Council and organized and sourced all its budgets including the budget for this year. My record at the National Book Council has been very successful according to most stakeholders in the industry, having built the entity from the bottom and sourced all of its public funds to support the book industry after successfully turning the declining trend of book sales at the Malta Book Festival to constant, year on year record highs. I revamped the legal framework giving more protection for intellectual rights and established the Council legally, organsied the first National Writers’ Congress, introduced public lending rights and also started the first-ever major international export drive of Maltese literature selling rights in various continents. My favourite project was brokering and selling Walid Nabhan’s prize-winning novel to the London-based publisher, Peter Owen which will be published this year in English translation by Albert Gatt with the title “Exodus of the Storks”. Breaking into the international market through a reputable London-based publisher has been the dream of many Maltese authors and this is probably the most major literary event in Maltese literary history for many years. This comes, after Immanuel Mifsud’s breakthrough in Paris with the publication of his French translation of “In the Name of the Father”.
This year I will also be at the London Book Fair where Malta has a stand and which began for the first time in 2014. For the first time ever I will enjoy the London Book Fair without the stress of having to make up for public funds spent for our participation.