THE Gibraltar Literary Festival will bring some of the top authors in politics, journalism and science onto one Rock this month.

The Olive Press caught up with two of them before they fly over for the four day book extravaganza.

Sally Bayley will be speaking about the power of storytelling after her novel Girl with Dove was accepted to be an A-level text.

Bayley thinks the structure of stories are something we need from an early age.

“We learn how to tell stories by listening and reading them for ourselves,” Bayley told the Olive Press.

“Stories are wired into our brains because we all compulsively narrate.

“It is a form of survival and a means of living day-to-day and how we understand ourselves in this world.”

She believes children are told stories with a strong narrative and character types to put across ‘a clear moral instruction’.

Girl With Dove
MOMENTOUS: The book is now an A-level text

“Children need vivid language which ‘sings’ and imitates sound,” she insisted.

“We absorb language through song and dance, as the Greeks did when they told their epics in oral form.”

The children’s author will have a conversation with her audience using props and visuals.

She said ‘a strong voice’ creates ‘real relationship’ allowing the audience ‘to participate and think for themselves’.

Brief encounter

Another speaker, Alba Arikha wrote Where to find me because she was interested in how people confront a traumatic past.

“The novel is about identity, and what it means to be displaced, a theme I’m particularly interested in,” she explained.

The plot is about two women who briefly meet in Paris, and its long-lasting consequences.

“I chose Paris during the occupation as a backdrop, because I’ve always been interested in that period of French history,” said Arikha.

“British Mandate Palestine is the other geographical setting because I wanted to write about a love affair that takes place amid political turmoil.”

Arikha’s personal connection with the plot is that she grew up in Paris and spent summers in Israel, with the French capital featuring in a lot of her books. 

Her novel deals with the theme of belonging, which she believes is ‘a universal one’. 

Microsoft Word Document18
EYE FOR DETAIL: Alba Arikha wrote Where to Find Me

“These themes touch every one of us no matter where we come from – there is no hierarchy to human emotions,” she claimed. 

The author believes that reading personal stories can help us overcome the negative ideas of our time.

“The rise of populism and nationalism are contributing to a culture of racism and prejudice which is in direct opposition to empathy,” said Arikha.

“I think curiosity and empathy are the key to uniting us all.”

She will finish her lecture on November 15 with a song about the main character of the book, Flora. 

“Its words and music has to do with the five senses and emotional processing,” Arikha added.

These are just two of the many talks being held at historical locations during the Gibraltar Gibunco Literary Festival from November 14 to 17

Tickets can be bought online or at each location and you can see the full programme on the festival website.

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