Clare Azzopardi

Clare Azzopardi

Clare Azzopardi (1977) is a prose writer, writer for children and assistant lecturer. She published her stories in English translation in Others, Across (2005) and her Maltese short story collection Il-Linja l-Hadra (The Green Line, 2006) won the Maltese National Book Award for fiction.

Translations of her short stories have been published in literary reviews, including In Focus (Pen Cyprus, 2005/2006), Cúirt 21 (Ireland, 2006) Lettre (Hungary, 2006), Kulturas Forms (Latvia, 2006), Transcript (LAF, 2007), Skald (Wales, 2007) and on;

Her play L-Interdett Taht is-Sodda (The Interdict beneath my Bed) was published in French by Éditions Théâtrales (2008) and in Arabic by I-Act (2009). She has also written six textbooks for children called Stilel and edited a series of twelve children’s books. Her first picture book which was published in 2008 won the Maltese National Book Award for Children and her first series of children’s novels were published in 2009.

This island’s parched

They fed her a scrap of bread –
and tendrils of injera clung to my fingertips
with stories
of sleepless nights in Safi1 cells
spent thumbing the darkness.

You should have brought some earth with you, I said,
it would remind you
of cheeks baked coral red
. This island’s parched –
if everyone made an offering of earth
then every livid memory would yield
a new fable.
Here, she said, look, and spread her palm.
I saw fear gripped against the cold nightface
on a boat scratching its course on a Mediterranean blue
and, cleaving to the roof of her mouth
the many words from stories without end,
her eyes brimming with anger, trickling
on her cheek.

1 Ħal Safi is a location in the south of Malta, where a detention centre
for irregular immigrants has been set up.

Clare Azzopardi
© Translation by Albert Gatt

Published with the permission of Clare Azzopardi