Having just released Stejjer ma jitwemmnux mill-klassi ta’ Miss Ambrożja Pulis Kiftaranipenġini and L-Istorja li Rrakkuntat Nina, Audrey Friggieri speaks to Clifford Jo Żahra about The Malta Book Festival and the process of writing in general. She elaborates on why reading should also ignite a whole process of thinking.
How did your love for writing flare up? Which books do you recall buying from past editions of the Malta Book Festival, when it was still known as the Malta Book Fair?
My love for writing started at a very young age. Reading gave me a voice. I discovered that I could play around with words to express my feelings, just like the authors who spoke to me out of their books. At The Malta Book Fair I remember mostly buying Trevor Żahra’s books for my Young children. I was always in search for good stories to entertain them with.
L-Iskjav ta’ Isabel and the Miss Ambrożja duology, on all accounts, are of completely different genres aimed at two distinctive readerships. How difficult is it to adapt from one genre/ readership to another?
In my case it is not a matter of adapting. I believe that a story finds me, rather than the other way round. It’s more like a matter of inspiration. When writing a children’s story, it gets unraveled in a light, fun voice. It gives me joy. On the other hand, when writing for a more mature reader, there is a totally different feel. It is heavy and it worries me, mostly because I engage with whatever I’m working on in a more intense manner.
Children in the Miss Ambrożja adventures are instructed, almost constrained, to think. Are you actually trying to encourage children to do something here, like thinking?
We are all constrained to think, whether we are aware or not. Actually, I believe children, of all ages, think a lot, because they are clever, especially when they want to get something that they are not allowed to be having. Yes, my books are about thinking. They are also about becoming aware that there are helpful ways of thinking and other thoughts that lead you astray.
Isabel, in L-Iskjav ta’ Isabel, is a cautious, clever, and quick-witted lady. Miss Ambrożja is labelled a witch. They both seem truly powerful. Are you consciously attributing some kind of power to women?
Looks like it, doesn’t it?! I wouldn’t say it’s conscious though. However, it is true that the world is being managed by men, some of whom are doing badly. I sincerely believe that women could do a better job, because they have more respect for life. Look at the mess our planet is in; we’re killing the only source that nourishes us!
One reason why no one should miss this edition of The Malta Book Festival.
To understand things and learn how to speak intelligently we first need to read. Besides, at the Malta Book Festival, all local publishers and writers get together in one place, where we get to meet them and have copies signed. Furthermore, Christmas is just round the corner, and what better present than a book? Oops, I guess that was more than one reason!
Organised by the National Book Council, the 2016 edition of The Malta Book Festival will be taking place at the Mediterranean Conference Centre, in Valletta, from November 9th to November 13th. Visit www.ktieb.org.mt for further details.
© 2016 – VIDA Magazine – Clifford Jo Żahra