Gibraltar Literature Week 2022 organised by Gibraltar Cultural Services on behalf of the Ministry for Culture has proved to be another interactive and engaging event with the Minister for Culture and Education committing to the formation of a Book Council that will be led by Gibraltarian author Mark Sanchez.

The announcement was made by Dr John Cortes at the closing reception hosted at the City Hall by the Mayor, after the author highlighted the value of this in his talk as part of the programme. Addressing many of the week’s contributors, the CEO of Gibraltar Cultural Services, also announced his team was working on plans for a bookshop and that there would be efforts to deliver symposiums and promote the work of local authors at international events with collaboration very much at the heart.

GCS delivered a popular and dynamic Literature Week programme that saw over a thousand students involved, varied adult audiences and many local authors part of the offering. Discussion, debate, workshops and storytelling were all on the agenda with numerous topics and subjects relating to Gibraltar and further afield part of the conversation. School visits and lectures, ‘An Audience With...’ sessions, special presentations from international authors, book launches and signings were just some of the highlights.

Ele Fountain’s contribution proved extremely popular and valuable with the students exposed to the issues of refugees and immigration. Her sessions included workshops at several schools focusing on story openers, with her public session seeing a wide participation from a 10-year-old bookworm to an 86 year old playwright.

Author Jamie Reid spoke to the audience about his books, the adventures of a SOE turned successful bookmaker in his novel ‘Blown’, his book ‘Doped’, a true story of one of the biggest doping scandals in British Racing history, involving horses belonging to the Royal Family and of course the biography of Victor Chandler. Victor joined Jamie to discuss tales from growing up to meeting the Triads in Hong Kong and moving his business to Gibraltar.

Mark Sanchez although unable to visit Gibraltar at the last minute, still enthralled his audience with a candid presentation discussing his books and writing and highlighting many areas that he felt needs addressing to support authors and promote Gibraltar’s literature further. His live virtual question and answer engaged with those attending taking the opportunity to dip into his experiences and author journey.

The school sessions inspired and entertained local pupils who were treated to many talks by local authors, discussing their books, writing experiences, research and more.

The popular ‘An Audience With...’ programme continues to delight with a packed Charles Hunt Room for a number of the talks, as some writers discussed their latest body of work and gave an insight into their writing experiences and inspirations, and forthcoming projects.

The Pop-up Bookshop run by GCS staff for the duration of the week was a valued service which saw many books sold to compliment the event and support local authors, by providing a platform to sell their publications.

Speaking at the closing reception at the City Hall hosted by His Worship the Mayor, Mr Christian Santos GMD, the Minister for Culture thanked Gibraltar Cultural Services for the organisation, as well as the participating authors, and added: “I am very pleased to be here to celebrate the end of another successful Gibraltar Literature Week, where we have featured the work of Gibraltar authors, with a most inspiring peppering from authors from abroad. We can never do enough to promote literature and the appreciation of books, or indeed to encourage members of our community to write, something which is happening more and more. We will continue with our work to foster this. We now have more Literature to look forward to in the forthcoming International Literary Festival.”