Aleks Farrugia disqualified by EU literature award for ‘Labor’ SKS affiliation
One of Malta’s leading publishing houses lamented the ban on the European Union Prize for Literature for membership of the Labor Party.
Labor’s SKS editors said they “condemned” his treatment by the EUPL after Malta’s book prize winner Aleks Farrugia (Għall-Glorja tal-Patrija) was disqualified from the EUPL shortlist.
The EUPL claimed that the award it awarded was “apolitical” and had to disqualify Farrugia because SKS is affiliated with a political party.
“This condition does not appear anywhere in the award regulations that the EUPL publishes on its website. It has never been mentioned or relied on before, ”SKS said in a statement. “The award is for creative authors, not publishers. It would be totally unacceptable for EUPL to attempt to restrict the freedom of writers to choose what to say, how to say it and where to say it. This is not the European way.
“But that seems to have been the path chosen this time by EUPL – and by its Maltese jury who came to terms with the EUPL’s arbitrary saying – when Farrugia was disqualified.”
the EUPL National Jury is responsible for ensuring that the award is seen as “artistic” and not “apolitical”, and can exclude “any book that challenges this principle”.
A source from the European Commission said that under EUPL guidelines, juries are advised “not to take in public authors belonging to a political party or published by a publishing house belonging to a political party. National juries always have the possibility of going against the recommendations if they can justify their position. The Maltese jury did not question the consortium’s recommendation in this case. The rules which have always been implicit given the nature of the prize will be made more explicit in the future.
Chris Galea performs a reading by Għall-Glorja tal-Patrija !: Kapriċċi Patrijottiċi (SKS) from # 2020NationalBookPrizeMalta, winning author Aleks Farrugia
The Maltese jury is made up of the Executive Chairman of the Malta Arts Council, Albert Marshall, as chairman, Professor Stephen Bonanno, publisher Clive Perini and radio host and book critic Rachelle Deguara.
SKS defended its reputation despite its party affiliation as having sought to achieve excellence in the publication of valuable texts in the fields of politics, economics, sociology, literature and history. “While clearly political content publications have a left-wing reach, SKS has at no time sought to influence what its published authors wanted to portray, not only in creative fiction, but at all levels.” , said SKS. “We would like to express their appreciation and solidarity with Aleks Farrugia. He has been mistreated by the EUPL and in a way that contradicts the values of transparency and non-discrimination that the EU proclaims. ”
On May 15, this year’s European Union Prize for Literature will be awarded to emerging writers from a number of EU countries, including Malta.
Labor MEP Alfred Sant asks for answers from the European Commission on why writers nominated for the European Union Prize for Literature are automatically disqualified from the distinction if they have been published by a publishing house of ‘a political party.
Sant, himself a prolific author published by SKS, put a parliamentary question to the Commission stressing that “the particular condition of exclusion of writers published by houses belonging or affiliated to a political party does not appear in the rules published on the European Union website. Literature Prize ”.