Conference on Commonwealth and Post-Colonial Literature at the Crowne Plaza, Sliema From 21st to 26th March 2005, the European Association for Commonwealth Literature and Language Studies (EACLALS) will be hosted by the University of Malta for its triennial conference on Sharing Places: searching for common ground in a world of continuing exclusion. More than 230 delegates from all over the world will be meeting at the Crowne Plaza in Sliema to discuss Commonwealth and Post-Colonial Writing and to meet the nine acclaimed writers who have accepted the invitation to speak and to read from their work at the conference.
Funded by the Commonwealth Foundation, the British Council, the Ministry of Education, the University of Malta, and Airmalta, the conference is being convened by Dr Stella Borg Barthet, a senior lecturer in the Department of English, Faculty of Arts. Generous sponsorships have made it possible for EACLALS to bring together writers from far off countries in the Commonwealth, along with others whose experience of colonisation is not British. EACLALS is coordinating with the Commonwealth Writers' Prize and during the first days of the conference, the pan-commonwealth panel under the chairmanship of Prof Daniel Massa will be meeting for the last phase of the adjudication process in another location. The prize winners will by announced by the chairperson of the Commonwealth Foundation, Prof. Guido Demarco, during the Conference Dinner.
The following are a few very brief notes about the authors who will be in Malta for the conference:
Leila Abouzeid is the first Moroccan woman writer of literature to be translated into English. Her novels explore the conflict between traditional culture and the search for independence at both individual and national and levels.
Hoda Barakat is from Lebanon. Her novel The Tiller of Waters is set in the war torn Beirut of the 1980s. Both this and her other novels have been translated from Arabic, the language of Hoda Barakat's choice. "In my innermost blood vessels I see the world in Arabic," she says.
Caryl Phillips is from St Kitts in the Caribbean. His novel Crossing the River was short listed for the 1993 Booker Prize. A Distant Shore - a remarkably convincing insider's view of the experiences of an illegal immigrant in Britain - won the Commonwealth Writers' Prize for the best book in 2004.
Dennis Brutus is South Africa's best know poet and anti-apartheid activist. In 1964 he helped secure South Africa's suspension from the Olympic games to force the government to turn away from apartheid. Although Brutus's poetry is inspired by protest, it is shot through with a tenderness that often transmutes pain into beauty. His best know collections include Letters to Martha and Other Poems from a South African Prison and A Simple Lust.
Karen King-Aribisala was born is Guyana and now lives in Nigeria. Her book Our Wife and Other Stories was voted the best first book of the African region in the Commonwealth Writersí Prize competition for 1991.
Oman Conteh lives and works in Freetown, Sierra Leone. His novels address contemporary issues in West Africa. Unanswered Cries tells the story of Olibisi, who is under tremendous pressure to follow tradition and become a circumcised bondo woman. This novel, written for adolescents, won the Senior Section of the Children's Literature Award in the Macmillan Writer's Prize for Africa, 2002.
George Elliott Clarke is from Nova Scotia, Canada. In his play Beatrice Chancy, a white plantation owner, Francis Chancy, has a daughter from a black slave woman. Discovering the love of his daughter for a slave, Francis Chancy asserts his ownership of Beatrice by raping her. The power of Eliott Clarkeís writing has won him various awards.
Andrew Sant is from Tasmania. He is the author of several collection of poetry, one of them called The Islanders. His interest in islands is likely to emerge in this conference during the poetry reading session in which he and a group of Maltese poets will read from their work. The Maltese poets are Adrian Grima, Stanley Borg, Maria Grech Ganado, Immanuel Mifsud, and Norbert Bugeja.
Robert Young is a professor of Post-Colonial theory at Oxford University. His books Post-Colonialism: An Historical Introduction; Colonial Desire: Hybridity in Theory, Culture and Race and White Mythologies are amongst the most important works on contemporary Post-Colonial theory. In Malta, Robert Young will be speaking on 'One Way StreetÖWalter Benjamin at the Border'.
This conference of the European Association for Commonwealth Literature and Language Studies promises to be a truly memorable literary event. Maltese scholars who would like to attend are requested to send in their registration fee as a cheque for Lm 15, payable to 'University of Malta, EACLALS' by 15th March. This should be sent by post to
Dr. Stella Borg Barthet
Department of English
Faculty of Arts
University of Malta.
This fee covers a Welcome Reception on Monday 21st and coffee breaks during the days of the conference.