After her first forays into poetry eventually yielded to publication and the establishment of a reputation within the local literary scene, Saliba has become strongly associated with a set of recognisable core themes and motifs. Among these is a meditation of cosmic space and time, which leads us to contemplate both our inherent smallness within the universe, but also our holistic connection to it, and our potential to better ourselves and our societies. The desire to grasp a sense of timeless interconnectedness is further compounded by Saliba’s other field of literary interest: the exploration of the mindscape of our Neolithic forebears and the mysterious legacy they’ve left behind, though one which crucially points to a lack of war-ready defensive structures, and hints at a deeply felt, intuitive understanding of natural cycles.
Saliba studied English literature in both Malta and the UK, and would go on to work as an assistant librarian, school teacher and, eventually, a full-time lecturer in English both at the Junior College and the University of Malta. She also served as a part-time research officer at the Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies at the Foundation for International Studies at the University of Malta. She holds a Diploma in Professional Stress Management and Consulting, and has held many workshops on literature and self-development, and on education for human rights and inner peace.
Having gone through her initial phase of education under British colonial yoke, Saliba’s first brush with the literary idiom was somewhat inevitably filtered through the English language – a fact reflected in the publication of her debut poetry collection, Time-Faring (Formatek Limited) in 1994. While a second edition of the collection would follow in 2001, a Maltese-language version would only appear as recently as 2014. Entitled Nimirħu maż-Żmien (Faraxa Publishing), the volume is considered by Saliba to be its own separate version of the source collection, and more than just a straightforward translation.
Saliba’s second foray into publication came in 2011, with the bilingual Xbihat tal-Antenati/Ancestral Visions. Giving full vent to Saliba’s interest in our Neolithic past, the volume of poetry is illustrated by photographic works of key Neolithic sites.
Saliba feels a deep kinship with her fellow authors in the Maltese literary scene, and hopes that a further space for an exploration of the benefits of bibliotherapy could be incorporated within it.
Written by Teodor Reljić
Project co-ordinator: Clare Azzopardi
With the help of: Kirsty Azzopardi, Leanne Ellul and Albert Gatt
Proofreader: Dwayne Ellul