Congratulations to Alex Vella Gera for winning second prize in the Adult Fiction category of the Premju Nazzjonali tal-Ktieb. I would have loved to point out the irony in this but, really, there is none: it’s just one big mess.
Mr Vella Gera is presently in the middle of an embarrassing (for the country), archaic (for the world) and spiteful (for the author and his family) lawsuit that originated from the publication of a sexually explicit short story in a University (!) newspaper. Self-righteous individuals who would have otherwise never heard of nor cared for Mr Vella Gera during their lifetime, appointed themselves as moral arbiters and literature connoisseurs; they are having a field day pontificating about that which they have no interest in understanding and making sure that everyone is aware of their tantrums. This does little besides highlighting the ridiculousness of having this situation occurring in 2011.
I’ve been following Alex since his days with Hunter’s Palace, a band that I loved (and still do) because of the honest, gritty approach to music. Alex carried this same spirit to his literary work and Żewġ is nothing if not a labour of love and genuine belief in one’s fundamental right to express him/herself through an art form. This is a book that happened because Alex wanted it to happen and I am very proud to have been part of this project.
Therefore, once again, a big well done to Alex.