Casha was born in Marsa in 1943. He attended the Lyceum and studied librarianship and Maltese at the University of Malta. Having been an educator for over 40 years, Casha took much inspiration from his time teaching in schools. In 2013, he published his autobiography Jien ukoll għandi storja xi ngħid (I Too Have a Story to Tell). Some of his books have been included in the library catalogues of Cambridgeshire Regional Library as well as the National Library of Paris.
Indeed, a lot of Casha’s work is didactic in essence, with certain figures, such as that of the prostitute, appearing repeatedly in his stories for young adults and adults. There is always this sense of moral obligation in Casha’s work, an implicit intention to keep things appropriate and defend the vulnerability of children. Here is an author who is clearly aware of his responsibility and who reflects carefully upon the impact of his writing on the community.
In Casha’s poetry the reader can appreciate a sort of love-hate relationship with the elements, in particular the sea/water. Casha attributes these contradictory feelings to an inherited fear, as his mother would often mention the tragic death of a relative during a storm. Such feelings of love, awe and also uncertainty due to the sea’s unpredictable nature can be experienced in many of his poems, including ‘Il-Baħar’ (‘The Sea’), ‘Qalb il-Mewġ’ (‘Among the Waves’) [both in the volume Riflessi (Reflections, 2014)] as well as ‘Burraxka’ (‘Storm’) [in Mumenti (Moments, 2013)], in which he describes the trail of destruction a storm leaves in her wake.
Works that are particularly important to Casha are L-appartament fir-raba’ sular (The Apartment on the Fourth Floor, 2004), and Il-Ktieb ta’ Barabba (The Book of Barabbas, 2010). L-appartament fir-raba’ sular makes use of the story-within-a-story technique, with various narratives merging and affecting one another. This novel was translated into English by Joan Mallia as Papers in a Tin Box, and into Albanian by Anisa Trifoni. In Il-Ktieb ta’ Barabba we meet a woman who cares for a man who has been cast out by society. There are many instances in which the reader questions right and wrong, but there are also moments which call for empathy with the characters. Il-Ktieb ta’ Barabba was translated into English as Fateful Encounters by Martin Buġelli.
Literature has always been a means to transmit Casha’s thoughts, beliefs, doubts, concerns and ideals. His characters thus become a means for the reader to better understand human behaviour, the meaning of life and its purpose, along with the great cycles that are birth and death.
Biography written by Ruth Bezzina
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