In a post near the close of events, Dan Gorman writes:
One of the main topics of discussion here in Valetta has been the establishment of a ‘hub’ for literary exchange and translation, physically located here in Malta, and potentially forming part of the Valetta 2018 Capital of Culture portfolio. The remit of this hub would be to facilitate literary exchange and translation, around the Mediterranean and beyond. There was a lot of discussion as to the limits of this exchange, both geographical and political and the question of identity raised its head throughout the proceedings. Is there such a thing as Mediterranean identity? And if not, is this something we want to create? And if we are talking about the EuroMed, how do we do so whilst bearing in mind the colonial legacy involved?
If there is a “Mediterranean” identity, then surely it is very much bound up in colonial and neo-colonial legacy, the ties of money, resources, allegiance, mythology, language, and economics — from al-Andalus to present.
Gorman acknowledges some of the problems with choosing Malta, but puts his trust with Inizjamed:
Inizjamed is a secular, non-partisan organization that acknowledges that every generation must seek to create its own language and both respond to realities of its day and look beyond them’. Initizjamed is composed of a group of incredibly dedicated individuals and has a great standing in Malta. They organise an annual literature festival here and as part of this have hosted a number of poets who have previously taken part in Reel Festivals, including both Golan Haji and Rasha Omran from Syria. There is a willingness to engage with the wider world, and with seemingly complex issues through the arts which makes me feel very positive about the establishment of the hub here.
A number of literary figures attended the conference, from Libya, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Lebanon, Greece, Italy, Spain, as well as non-Med European countries.
The blog also has a number of brief video-interviews with participants about why they’re there, and what they’re hoping to accomplish, for instance with Oussama Rifahi, executive director of the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture, Algerian poet and translator Samira Negrouche, Basma El Husseiny, director of Al Mawred Al Thaqafy, and more.