The ceremony also served as the launch for the From Illustration to Book exhibition — taking place for the second year in a row at the event and once again marking an important collaboration between the National Book Council and Arts Council Malta. The exhibition lends vibrant visual expression to the #beyondbooks concept, as it charts the evolution of local book illustration across different historical eras and artistic styles.
The evening also unveiled the Interactive Mural, a collaborative initiative between the NBC and the Malta Community of Illustrators, in which a group of selected illustrators will engage in live drawing and interact with audiences, stressing the potential for illustration to bring about positive social change.
Addressing the event, Minister for Education, Sport, Youth, Research and Innovation Hon. Clifton Grima, described reading as one of the fundamental pillars of the educational process, which was why it is the responsibility of the sector to promote reading from an early age.
The Minister also praised the multi-sensory element of the Malta Book Festival, stressing that writing is often supplemented by impressive illustration work, “while literary works often form the basis for film, theatre productions and work in other sectors, which continue to ensure that the literary world remains an interesting and fertile ground.”
Minister for Inclusion, Voluntary Organisations and Consumer Rights Julia Farrugia Portelli was also present at the ceremony, and spoke about the various publications that the ministry has recently issued, while also referring to the National Strategy for Persons with Disability 2021-2030.
Director of Funding and Strategy for Arts Council Malta Mary Ann Cauchi also addressed the event, stating that the Council is honoured to once again be collaborating with the NBC on the Illustration to Book Exhibition. “As ACM, we strive to give artists each and every possible opportunity for their work to be appreciated, highlighting a priority in Strategy2025 for wider arts appreciation,” Cauchi added.
On his part, National Book Council Chairman Mark Camilleri highlighted the exciting theme of #beyondbooks which marks this year’s festival, and brings literature together with a variety of artistic practices, such as music, theatre and film.
Camilleri added that the Malta Book Festival is now a staple of the Maltese cultural calendar, and plays a crucial role in both the educational and cultural development of the population, as it encourages all attendees to continue populating their homes with books, while also offering crucial support to publishers.
The Malta Book Festival runs between 18-22 October at the following opening hours: on Wednesday and Thursday from 9am-1pm and 5:00pm-9pm; on Friday from 9am-1pm and 5:00pm-10pm; on Saturday from 9:30am-10pm, and on Sunday from 9:30am-8pm.
The full programme of events for the 2023 Malta Book Festival is available online here. For the latest updates, please follow the NBC website, and the NBC Facebook page and Malta Book Festival 2023 Facebook page.