SHORT STORIES IN TRANSLATION/TE GЋAL TNEJN


Anthology/Collection of short stories “Skariggi” (edited by Kit Azzopardi) that brings together established and up-and-coming Maltese writers will be launched and promoted today at the Manoel Theatre in Valletta. This collection also contains Berislav Blagojevic’s short story “Tea for one” translated into Maltese. An article by Teodor Reljic (Malta Today) brings more info about this publication:

New voices for new pages | Skariggi

Despite the short story being notoriously difficult to sell as a genre worldwide, against all odds the local independent press Skarta is launching an eclectic collection of short tales on June 24 at The Manoel Theatre.

Skariggi will feature short fiction by both up-and-coming and established writers like Guze Stagno and Adrian Grima.

Edited by Kit Azzopardi, Skariggi will bring together a number of established local writers – among them Guze Stagno and Adrian Grima – while also serving as a launching pad for up-and-coming writers.

The anthology, which was gradually shaped during creative writing seminars among the Poezijaplus group, will also feature a story from the award-winning Bosnian author Berislav Blagojevic, and through his contribution – translated into Maltese for the first time – the anthology „aims at intercultural dialogue“.

„The subject matter of the short stories varies from vows with the devil, to an obsession with an apparently innocent name. The styles are equally varied, with one playing around with the story’s chronology, another being of an investigative nature, such as Adrian Grima’s excellently written and well researched story. The starting point was to bring together established and up-and-coming writers, so that different generations of authors would be given an opportunity to work together,“ Azzopardi said.

Speaking of his involvement in the anthology, Blagojevic said that he was „honoured“ to be given the opportunity to participate in the anthology. „I was very excited when Kit sent me summaries for the stories which will be featured in the anthology as they are very diverse in style and approach. That gives me hope that my story will find its place in the anthology,“ Blagojevic said, while agreeing with the idea that his contribution is a marker of the anthology’s desire to create dialogue between Bosnia and Malta.

„I think it might be quite interesting for readers to learn about interests, main writing topics, preoccupations, point of view, or writing style of authors from other countries,“ Blagojevic said. As an example, he mentioned having the possibility of reading a short story by Gozitan-born author Pierre J. Mejlak in Serbian after it was published in a Serbian literary journal.

„This way, readers all over the Balkans have the opportunity to enjoy reading author from Malta. Perhaps my participation in this anthology is a good occasion to give something back. From Balkans with love!“

Speaking about the Maltese publishing industry, in light of being the editor of an independent anthology, Azzopardi said that the local publishing industry still lacks „two essential cogwheels: professional editors and critics“.

„Those taking up editorial work and publishing critiques are either authors themselves or an author’s friend, which rarely allows for a serious discussion on what is being produced. As regards readers, we’re also lacking, mostly due to an educational system which does not encourage creative thinking.“

Skariggi will be launched at the Manoel Theatre, 18:00. The collection is being financed by the Malta Arts’ Fund, The President’s Award for Creativity, River Dreams Ltd, and the Ministry of Education. For more information log on to www.skarta.org or join the group ‘Versatili’ on Facebook.

Also about this Anthology at maltarightnow (Maltese only)

* Authors of the anthology are:

Adrian Grima, Claudia Gauci, Kit Azzopardi, Jacob Piccinino, Rita Saliba, Emanuel Psaila, Priscilla Cassar and Keith Borg, Guze Stagno and Berislav Blagojevic

Te għal Tnejn

Kuljum u għal snin sħaħ, Gertrude u Robert kienu jpoġġu ma’ mejda żgħira, mitluqa lura f’siġġijiet tas-sogħda jixorbu t-te. Dejjem fis-6:00pm, u mhux fil-5:00… minn daqshekk kienu kemxejn differenti, magħżula mill-oħrajn. Drabi minnhom jixorbu te Russu morr, mingħajr zokkor jew ħalib, u kull darba li Robert iħejji t-te bla zokkor, Gertrude kienet tinduna li qiegħed f’burdata tajba u tibda titbissem minn qabel ma jibdew jitkellmu. Imma meta Robert iqiegħed it-tettiera fuq l-imwejda mimlija bċejjeċ ħelwa tal-frott, kienet tkun taf li hemm xi ħaġa żmerċ. U jekk ikun hemm zukkariera kbira bi kristalli kannella fiha f’tarf il-mejda, kienet tkun ċerta li se jkollhom xi jgħidu. Imbagħad jibqgħu ma jkellmux lil xulxin għal jiem twal imma b’danakollu, kuljum fis-6:00pm kienu jpoġġu fis-siġġijiet tad-dirgħajn tagħhom u jħarsu lejn xulxin minn ġol-fwar saħħari tiela’ mill-pakketti tat-te ppakkjati pulit, miġjuba mill-bogħod mill-Ġorġja.

Is-sett tat-te li kienu qed jużaw ma kellu xejn ta’ barra minn hawn: it-tettiera, mixtrija  bi skont, kienet mill-komuni, kemxejn imġemmda fil-qiegħ. Il-kikkri kitschy kellhom disinji Vittorjani mpittra fuqhom, bi predominanza ta’ blu rjali, kannella dehbi bl-isfumaturi tal-okra, u b’żewġt imqabad irqajqa kkurvati donnhom widnejn. Kienu għal qalb Gertrude immens, għax ġew mogħtija lilha minn nannitha dakinhar tat-tieġ. Il-buqar żgħir għall-ħalib kien xtrah Robert lejn l-aħħar tas-70ijiet f’Hong Kong, waqt waħda mis-safriet tiegħu fuq ix-xogħol. Lil Gertrude gidbilha: qalilha li swielu ħafna flus għax – suppost – kien magħmul minn imgħallma famużi tal-porċellana, li sengħethom tmur lura s-sekli. Il-flus li suppost qalilha li kien nefaq fuq il-buqar, Robert użahom sabiex jixtrilha libsa tal-ifjen ħarir il-ġmiel tagħha. U minkejja li l-libsa kienet swietlu teżorin, qalilha li kien ikkorda għaliha ma’ bejjiegħ bla snien f’suq lokali, u li bilkemm ħallas għaliha £5. Gidbilha; gidbilha  għax lil Gertrude tiegħu kien jafha sew. Kien jaf kemm kienet tgħajjat miegħu jekk issir taf kemm nefqilha, u li kienu jisfgħu jixorbu te ħelu manna għal jiem twal, te tqil biz-zokkor donnu l-meraq tal-għenba. Minflok, fis-snin ta’ wara Gertrude, b’wiċċha jixgħel bil-ferħ u bi kburija, kienet turi l-buqar bla siwi lill-mistiedna, waqt li Robert kien jiċċassa nervuż lejn saqajh, lejn il-papoċċi taċ-ċarruta. Iz-zukkiera mibgħuda kienet zoppa, bla tiżjin xejn, magħmula mit-tafal moħmi b’lega rqiqa ta’ glejż li nqasam biż-żmien. Fil-jiem tqal ta’ meta jixorbu t-te ħelu, din iz-zukkiera kienet tħares lejhom it-tnejn donnha fekruna xwejħa, bis-sieq ix-xellugija ta’ quddiem atrofizzata.

Fuq kollox kienu jitkellmu waqt it-te: fil-bidu kienu jitkellmu dwar xi jkun jixtieq Robert għall-ikel, jew dwar x’qalu l-kritiċi dwar il-film il-ġdid ta’ Hoffman, jew – ngħidu aħna – fuq jekk il-kċina kellhiex tinżebagħ lewn ieħor flok dak bajdani. Imbagħad dwar il-problemi tax-xogħol, dwar il-ħwejjeġ li binhom Martin ħareġ minnhom, u l-offerti tal-ġenn għall-btajjel tas-sajf fuq xtut għas-sħana fis-sud. Fis-snin ta’ wara, il-mejda nbidlet f’kamp tal-battalji, ta’ diskussjonijiet diffiċli, ta’ niket jew ta’ ferħ. Kienu qed jixorbu tazza te tal-Indja meta Martin qalilhom li se jitlaq lejn l-Amerka, b’Gertrude jaqbadha attakk sfrenat ta’ paniku. Te aħdar mill-ifjen kien qed ifawwar mill-kikkri ta’ żewġ widniet meta Robert, minn taħt l-ilsien, qalilha li se jirtira. U l-ibisku morr kien qed jinċiża l-platti tagħhom meta qalulhom li saru nanniet. Aktar tard kienu bdew jitħaddtu dwar it-temp, it-terremot il-Ġappun, jew iqattgħu l-ħin skomdu flimkien jaqtgħu n-numri tal-lottu.

Kienu s-5:55pm u t-tettiera kienet qed issaffar bit-ton tagħha tas-soltu. Kienet ġurnata sabiħa u Robert ħejja s-sett komplut tat-te, ħlief għall-fekruna zoppa, sintendi. Mar għal Gertrude f’kamritha, fejn kienet qed tistrieħ wara l-ikel. Ix-xemx ta’ waranofsinhar sabet b’xi mod triqitha nkiss inkiss minn ġol-purtieri u tremblet mat-torso tagħha. Id-dell fuq ħalqha ma ħbilhiex in-nofs tbissima, filwaqt li s-swaba’ twal ta’ dak l-istess dell straħu bla jitħarrku fuq sidirha.

Il-funeral kien kommoventi imma ma twalx. Il-ħafna rjus griżi bi kpiepel kbar iżżejjed ta’ nisa xwejħa Ingliżi, tferrxu fost il-linji tas-siġar irħamati. Anki Martin ġie, ma’ martu u wliedu, u wara t-tislima aħħarija, il-mistiedna – siekta – niżlu għal triqithom. Robert mar lura d-dar għal ħin it-te, u bir-rutina tas-soltu mela t-tettiera u stenna l-ilma jagħli. Imbagħad, b’attenzjoni rama l-mejda għal tnejn u poġġa l-imħaded fis-siġġijiet niexfa jżaqżqu. Dam bilqiegħda hekk għal sigħat twal, aktar qisu qed jipprova jinterpreta s-sigrieti eterni tal-Univers, milli b’qalbu msewda. Fl-aħħar rema t-te bla ma daqu u mar ġos-sodda. L-istess ritwal tennieh u telltu jum wara l-ieħor. Imbagħad ġie żmien meta kien iqiegħed biss tazza waħda fuq il-mejda. Deher li kien se jibda jtiegħem it-togħma antika u tajba tat-tannin mill-ġdid, imma kull darba idu kienet tibda tirtogħod u ma tibqax tobdih hekk kif il-fwar sħun jibda jikkondensa fi mnifsejh. Meta mbagħad darba waranofsinhar it-tettiera sogħlot kif qatt ma kienet sogħlot qabel, Robert infaqa’ f’bikja u l-ilfiq tiegħu mħallat mal-lament tat-tettiera instema’ bħal sinfonija manjifika ta’ disprament. Qatt ma reġa’ ħa t-te. Lanqas biss qatt ipprova…

(tradotta minn Kit Azzopardi)

Earlier, Berislav Blagojevic’s short story “To the one who waited” entered “Scattered time” – a bilingual (Serbian/English) selection of contemporary literature of the Republic of Srpska. This book was presented at the Thessaloniki Book Fair (24-27 May 2012).

More details at ekultura (Serbian only).

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