GIBRALTAR wants to take a leaf out of the handbook of Malta’s promotion of its own language to give ‘Llanito’ a lift in the near future.
The Rock’s own recently formed National Book Council (GNBC) travelled to the Malta Book Festival recently and said they were ‘impressed’ by the desire to promote Maltese in literature.
It follows academic recognition of the Llanito language formed out of Spanish and English which is especially spoken by the older generations in Gibraltar.
The GNBC team joined various events, workshops and sessions at the festival, which attracted 50,000 visitors in five days.
Its members took part in a public discussion with Malta Book Council Executive Chair Mark Camilleri.
They talked about Gibraltar’s language culture and history that will be showcased in a new book.
Eleanor Dobbs of the Rock Retreat for young writers also presented her illustrations in a panel discussion.
She invited young artists and authors to join in the next Gibraltar Retreat in 2024.
Mark Sanchez said he was impressed about the effort Malta is putting into promoting its unique language.
He said: “We learned a lot from them and we feel we are now in a better position to promote both Llanito and the work of our own Gibraltarian writers.”
Maltese is a Latinised version of historical Semitic Arabic that developed over 1,000 years ago and has been influenced by Italian.
Davinia Barbara of Gibraltar Cultural Services said she wanted to work with the Maltese book council in the future on new projects between the two nations.
“The experience has been positive and beneficial providing us with ideas and observations that can be applied to enhancing the delivery of literary events and programmes in Gibraltar,” she added.
Gibraltar has strong cultural roots that originate in Malta with many migrants coming over from the closest British colony in the 19th Century.
Finally, Christian Santos, Minister for Culture, said the trip proved to be ‘extremely positive’ for networking and as a new experience.
“Gibraltar’s literature and culture deserve to be put on the map and this collaboration is the first step in the journey I foresee the GNBC to take,” newly-elected Santos said.
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