Alfred Sant is an innovative contemporary Maltese writer, also known for being a Labour Party politician – having served as President of the Party in the 1980s and as Prime Minister of Malta between 1996 and 1998.

Jump to bibliography

He has written several novels, short stories and plays. Sant has also served as editor of the political gazettes Il-Ħelsien and It-Torċa, as well as the magazines Tomorrow and Society.

He was born in 1948 in Sliema. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Physics and Mathematics, and a Master of Science in Physics, both from the University of Malta. Sant went on to study public administration at the Institut International d’Administration Publique in Paris. He then completed a Master of Business Management at Boston University, and was awarded a scholarship to study at Harvard, where he graduated as a Doctor of Business Administration.

Sant worked as a Secretary to the Mission of Malta to the European Communities in Brussels. Back in Malta, he served as Advisor for general and financial management at the Ministry of Parastatal and People’s Industries, and subsequently as Managing Director for Medina Consulting Group. Sant returned to the public sector as Executive Deputy Chairman with the Malta Development Corporation, and later moved into the private sector as a consultant.

Sant published various policy studies, including a report on the relations of Malta with the European Community between 1988 and 1989; and a study entitled Malta’s European Challenge (1995) focusing on what Sant believed to be the best possible partnership Malta could develop with the European Union, given the island’s strategic position in the Mediterranean.

Sant feels that his works are all personal and important for different reasons. His writing revolves around the mentality of the Maltese identity, along with the idea of modernization and memory, among other themes. His first work L-Ewwel Weraq tal-Bajtar (The First Prickly Pear Leaves) (1968) is autobiographical with a twist, as he describes a man who feels suffocated by the traditional mentality and is unsure about what to do with himself. Also on an autobiographical note, Confessions of a European Maltese (2003) and its sequel Confessions of a European Maltese – the Middle Years (2021) relate the events, conflicts and transitional periods for Malta and the rest of the world through Sant’s experiences.

In his novels and short stories, Sant touches upon the ideas of modernization and globalization, particularly in Bejgħ u Xiri (Selling and Buying) (1981) and La Bidu, La Tmiem – 1599 (No Beginning nor Ending – 1599) (2001). Ancient magic and cutting-edge technology come together in the fantastical adventure that is L-Għalqa tal-Iskarjota (Iscariot’s Field) (2009). Sant also explores memory and how we remember fragments of reality, not necessarily in order but randomly, in the novel Bħal f’Dizzjunarju (As in a Dictionary) (2011). Another work which deals with fragmentation is Ċpar (Mist) (2013). Large chunks of history are left out of these short stories – hence the title, which allows the reader to visualize this fog and the uncertainty that builds up around what lies beyond. Another short story collection along these same lines is Western (2016).

More recently, Sant incorporated elements reminiscent of the Arthurian myths in Ir-Rumanz tal-Fieres Safran (The Pale Knight) (2022). He continues to experiment with memory, the act of recollection, and how elements of both old and new merge in our world. Experiences, relationships and the changes they go through, take centre stage in Sant’s work. This year we have another short story collection to look forward to, as Sant will be publishing stories based in Malta as well as in outer space!

Biography written by Ruth Bezzina.



Supported by

Arts Council Malta

Creative Industries Platform

Project co-ordinator: Clare Azzopardi

With the help of: Kirsty Azzopardi, Leanne Ellul and Albert Gatt

Proofreader: Dwayne Ellul

Manage cookie preferences