Sciberras served as Deputy Librarian at the University of Malta from 1984 to 1992, and subsequently on various related committees and boards. In 2001 she was awarded a PhD from Ealing College in London, with a thesis entitled Melitensia: Information Resource and National Memory. Sciberras’ love of writing seeped into her consciousness early on, as a precocious talent for school compositions led to a passion for poetry. Sciberras claims she never “consciously” pursued the literary path, and insists that she is not a “prolific” literary writer. But her early poetic efforts hold significant political and historical resonance.
She is the only female poet to feature in the landmark Malta: The New Poetry: An Anthology of Modern Maltese Verse (Klabb Kotba Maltin, 1971), and her involvement in early feminist movements on the island resulted in advocacy that led to significant social change. Having read her poetry in Belgrade, Berlin, and Lodève (France), Sciberras grew conscious of the beautiful musicality of her native language.
But her immersion into a wide panoply of books on a regular basis has surely contributed to the generous intertextual – and bilingual – sweep that characterises the wider arc of her work. As a librarian, a familiarity with the wide scope of the literary idiom is something of a given, and her influences range from close-to-the-bone local literary firebrands like Oliver Friggieri, Mario Azzopardi, Maria Grech Ganado and many others, to the flights of fantasy proffered by the bestselling English-lanuage authors Haruki Murakami, Neil Gaiman and David Mitchell.
Like many authors on the island, Sciberras is also conscious of existing between two languages simultaneously. For Sciberras, this division manifests itself quite clearly: she writes poetry in Maltese and prose in English. Sciberras released her debut novel Shadows in Penumbra (Horizons) in 2016. The propulsive nature of narrative prose writing – the need to find out, and craft, ‘what happens next’ – has led Sciberras to deviate from her more usual writing patterns with poetry, such as they are. When it comes to prose, she is keener to establish a routine, to return to the work at regular intervals.
Written by Teodor Reljić
Project co-ordinator: Clare Azzopardi
With the help of: Kirsty Azzopardi, Leanne Ellul and Albert Gatt
Proofreader: Dwayne Ellul