The Gibraltar National Book Council was launched this afternoon, on the eve of World Book Day, by Minister for Culture John Cortes who presented the members of the Council and its aims and objectives.
The initiative to create the Gibraltar National Book Council arose following a suggestion by Gibraltarian author Mark Sanchez at last year’s Gibraltar Literature Week. Based broadly on the equivalent council in Malta, the Council has been set up to become a focal point in Gibraltar for all book and literature related activity.
The Council will encourage writing and reading and will support writers, illustrators and publishers, working to promote Gibraltarian Literature locally and internationally. In supporting Gibraltarian Literature, the Council will strive to promote the use, in literary works, of all the languages of Gibraltar, including English and Spanish, Llanito in its own right, as well as other languages spoken locally, including Arabic, Hebrew and Hindi.
The Council will be supported by the Ministry of Culture, which will provide the Secretariat, and by Gibraltar Cultural Services, who were represented at the launch by CEO Seamus Byrne.
The Council will initially be chaired by John Cortes, and its other members are Davina Barbara (representing GCS), Melissa Bosano, Giordano Durante, Jonathan Pizarro, Mark Sanchez and Jamie Trinidad.
In welcoming the creation of the Council, author Mark Sanchez commented: “This is a really exciting development. For a number of years, international interest in Gibraltarian writing has been steadily increasing and it is only fit and proper that we should have an organisation on the Rock dedicated to supporting and promoting all things literary.”
The Minister for Culture, the Hon John Cortes, said: “This is a tremendously exciting development. The Gibraltar National Book Council will work tirelessly to promote all its aims, centred around books and Literature, and enhancing our community’s identity through the use of our languages. The enthusiasm of the Council members is huge, y hay muchísimas ganas detrabajar. Its initiatives and activities are being planned and will be announced soon. All ideas are welcome!”
The initial Aims and Objectives of the Council are stated below:
The Gibraltar National Book Council
The Gibraltar National Book Council (GNBC) was established in 2023 by the Ministry for Culture of HM Government of Gibraltar.
The Council will encourage writing and reading and will support writers, illustrators and publishers, working to promote Gibraltarian Literature locally and internationally.
In supporting Gibraltarian Literature, the Council will specifically strive to promote the use, in literary works, of all the languages of Gibraltar.
The Council will work with Gibraltar Cultural Services as the local agent for ISBN, and with different partners to achieve its goals.
Its activities may include:
Supporting research into Gibraltarian Literature
Workshops, conferences or symposia
Support to writers and illustrators
Support to educators
Encouraging the love of reading and of the use of libraries
Storytelling and initiatives for young readers and writers
Awarding of book grants
Spoken word events such as literary nights and readings
Encouraging local writers as speakers in schools to introduce Gibraltarian Literature at an early age
Providing mentorship for young writers
The Gibraltar National Book Council intends to become a focal point in Gibraltar for all book and literature related activity.