Spiteri also worked as a research officer with the Malta Chamber of Commerce prior to joining the Central Bank. He remained very much involved in politics as a commentator and analyst for various newspapers including The Times of Malta and The Sunday Times of Malta. As an economist, he was a member and even director of different boards.
He was born in 1938 in Qormi. Spiteri studied at the Lyceum of Malta and went on to study politics and economics at St. Peter’s College, Oxford. Back in Malta, he became involved in politics as a member of the Labour Party. He was elected Member of Parliament at the age of twenty-three, serving as Finance Minister, as well as Trade and Economic Planning Minister later on. He served in Parliament for a total of twenty-one years. Spiteri was awarded the Ġieħ ir-Repubblika honour and in 2008 was made Companion of the Order of Merit.
Spiteri authored various novels and short stories. His first short story collection Tad-Demm u l-Laħam (Of Flesh and Bone) (1968), was later published as Anatomija (Anatomy) in 1978. His second collection Ħala taż-Żgħożija u stejjer oħra (Wasted Youth and other stories) (1970), was published as Iż-Żewġt Iħbieb u stejjer oħra (The Two Friends and other stories) in 1979. He then went on to publish Il-Ħalliel u stejjer oħra (The Thief and other stories) (1981) and Mal-Ħmura tas-Silla u stejjer oħra (Red as Clover and other stories) (1993), with Meta Jdellel il-Qamar (When the Moon Casts its Shadow) coming out in 2005. Many of his stories and novellas examine social themes within Maltese society, exposing and instilling tension between the personal and the collective. In Island Faces: four novellas from Malta (2011), Spiteri continues his exploration of psychology and class – the actions of his characters speak louder than words, placing a spotlight on that which we are, or have become, blind to. Perhaps his most personal collection remains Stejjer għal Valentina (Stories for Valentina) (1997), which compiles various stories about the lessons and challenges of life, for his granddaughter.
By the end of his career he had written around a hundred and ten short stories, mainly rooted in social realism and infused with socio-political elements. The novel Rivoluzzjoni, do Minore (Revolution in C Minor) (1980) is a hallmark example as it recounts the fruitlessness of the politico-religious clashes that took place in Malta in the 1960s – which Spiteri experienced during his first foray into politics. Spiteri published three collections of political and economic articles and essays: Għalik (For You) (1987), Jien u Għaddej fil-Politika: ġabra ta’ memorji (My Life in Politics: a collection of memories) (2007) and L-Onorevoli (The Honourable Minister) (2007) which relates stories written throughout his career in politics. But Spiteri was also a poet, having published three collections: Stqarrija (A Statement) (1978), Jien Nimxi Waħdi (I Walk Alone) (1987), and Għaliex ix-Xwiek? (Why all the Thorns?) (1998).
In all facets of his life Spiteri served with his heart; his work was a vocation, that of observing the human condition, celebrating and exploring it with both wit and irony. His writing reveals a rare integrity, a push for tolerance, equity and justice, as he weaves in the harsh with the tender, the good with the bad, in a society rife with political polarization and social marginalization. Spiteri questions our morals and values as a society, posing the notion of convenience versus conviction. While the sense of waste and loss often prevail, they are nonetheless accompanied by notes of joy, freedom and hope.
Biography written by Ruth Bezzina.
Project co-ordinator: Clare Azzopardi
With the help of: Kirsty Azzopardi, Leanne Ellul and Albert Gatt
Proofreader: Dwayne Ellul