Gibraltar Literature week

in Features

Questions for Davina Barbara

Q: Why are Gibraltar Cultural Services holding Gibraltar Literature Week? 

The aim of Gibraltar Literature Week has always been to celebrate literature, books, language and to offer a platform to Gibraltarian authors to discuss their work and promote their publications. Initially post Covid it was an event that GCS was able to organise and deliver as a stop gap whilst the International Festival took a break. It has been very positively received and continues to grow and develop, with the programme delivering a school’s outreach and numerous other promotional avenues for those involved. It also serves to promote topics and subjects directly linked to Gibraltar with many interesting areas explored varying from academic topics to social and cultural subjects.

Q: Is the week focused on Gibraltarian literature only?

The event does not focus exclusively on Gibraltar Literature, although that is one of its main aims, with international authors also part of the Programme. This year however most of the international authors have a link to Gibraltar. Mark Sanchez who writes about the Rock and its intricacies will be discussing his body of work and his recent bilingual publication. Established author Jamie Reid writer of the biography of bookmaker Victor Chandler will discuss this and some of his other publications that feature Gibraltar. Ele Fountain will be looking after our young readership with talks and workshops where she will discuss one of her books also offering writing tips on how to develop ideas and creative writing.

Q: Why is it important to highlight reading books in this day and age? 

Does the question even need to be asked ? the value of books and reading are at the heart of language development and expression. Young people learn about the world, history, ideas, values, emotions, problem solving etc through stories. It stimulates creative and logical thinking. Books inspire, educate entertain can be fun, serious and so much more. Although technology plays a big part in everyday life and people consume information differently, books are still very relevant and continue to be popular in Gibraltar judging by our visitors to the Library and new members signing up. This year alone we have had… Storytelling is a highlight for the young ones and can play a vital role in family interaction. That’s why GCS is so keen to continuously provide interactive and educational opportunities throughout the year through different initiatives and events to make sure books are accessible and there’s something for just about everyone.

Q: What other events are taking place during the week?

There’s a full programme planned for 2022 with school lectures and workshops and twice daily ‘An Audience With’ discussions which will be available to a live audience and streamed online. An addition this year, is an evening where writers and others will share their literary experiences/ anecodotes and journeys through short presentations. We will feature articles in the Gibraltar Chronicle and Gibraltar Panorama and interviews on Radio Gibraltar with book reviews on social media. Special storytelling sessions at the library are also planned, with  a poetry recital event, book launches and a dedicated Book Shop all part of the offering.

Q: Is Gibraltar Literature Week only online? 

No the online focus was mainly for the first edition when we were coming out of the 1st lockdown and there were still restrictions. We were adamant to provide the community with these opportunities and went ahead in the only way possible. Last year we were able to operate almost normally whilst adhering to specific guidelines when dealing with large gatherings, and can say we run a very safe and successful event with many attending the Theatre for Jeffrey Archer’s talk, and school groups able to interact with Christopher Lloyd.

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