Ribcage was released through indie publisher Minima in 2003, marking her English-language debut. But the parallel publication of Fil-Ħofra Bejn Spallejha and Cracked Canvas (both 2005) perhaps most tellingly illustrates her prodigious and limber bilingualism. “English has a larger vocabulary, but Maltese is richer – the double entendre is in our blood,” she is often quoted as saying.
Neither can Grech Ganado’s contribution to the gender parity of the literary scene go unremarked upon. Apart from being a prominent female author in a scene that remains overcrowded with male representation despite improvements in recent years, she is also distinguished for being the very first full time female lecturer at the University of Malta, having taught within the Department of English from 1968 to 1972, and after having read English at the universities of Malta, Cambridge and Heidelberg.
This was not the only time Grech Ganado ‘made history’. Having successfully leveraged the international reach of her poetry – her work has since been translated into French, Italian, German, Greek, Spanish, Turkish, Arabic, Lithuanian, Finnish, Czech, Catalan, Slovakian, Hungarian, Dutch and Armenian – Grech Ganado was instrumental in brokering a fruitful and ongoing relationship between Literature Against Frontiers (LAF) and the literary NGO Inizjamed. A relationship which has, in no small part, contributed towards making the Malta Mediterranean Literature Festival what it is today: a prestigious annual appointment in the Maltese cultural calendar, fortified by an eclectic array of local and international guests.
And with her collection Framed (Merlin Publishers, 2018), Grech Ganado convinced one of Malta’s most prominent publishing houses to release a poetry collection for the first time in its long history, setting a healthy precedent for a genre previously deemed ‘unprofitable’.
The National Book Council has ‘ratified’ Grech Ganado’s status as one of the country’s leading poets many times over. Having taken the council’s annual top prize for her collections Iżda Mhux Biss, Cracked Canvas and Taħt il-Kpiepel t'Għajnejja (Klabb Kotba Maltin), in 2015 she was granted the Lifetime Achievement Award by the National Book Council for her considerable contribution to Malta’s literature and book sector. Grech Ganado was also awarded the Medal for Service to the Republic of Malta in 2000.
Written by Teodor Reljić
Project co-ordinator: Clare Azzopardi
With the help of: Kirsty Azzopardi, Leanne Ellul and Albert Gatt
Proofreader: Dwayne Ellul