The international dimension of Mifsud’s work is further bolstered by her taking charge of the translation workshop which forms part of the annual Malta Mediterranean Literature Festival, during which an international array of visiting writers translate each others’ work before presenting it on stage during the festival nights.
And so, with a life now defined by the language of literature and firmly embedded among the coterie of local writing colleagues, a younger Mifsud was in fact shocked to discover that most of her peers did not, in fact, write poetry as a matter of course. She began to experiment with the genre to console a sick cousin, penning a poem while the relative was ill with appendicitis.
But poetry was to take a back seat during Mifsud’s university days, during which time she dedicated her energies to pursuing her dream of permanently relocating to France, so that mastering the French language became top priority. “It took me a while to come back to poetry,” she said in retrospect. “It is actually poetry that came back to me.”
Mifsud has three poetry collections, a novel, Ir-rota daret dawra (kważi) sħiħa (Going (almost) full circle, Merlin Publishers, 2017), and a book of short stories, Żifna f'xifer irdum (Merlin Publishers, 2021), all of which bear out her recurring focus on the experience of womanhood, expressed in eloquent, but visceral, honesty.
But the act of journeying across words is never too far from Mifsud’s sphere of preoccupation, which is very much borne out in her second poetry collection, Kantuniera ’l Bogħod (Edizzjoni Skarta, 2015), which follows her 2009 debut, żugraga (Spinning Top). Indeed, the very title – translating into Just Around the Corner – is an intimately potent collation of Mifsud’s desire to explore the ambiguities of distance and proximity, of the familiar and the unfamiliar. Of how easily, in her own words, “our perspectives can shift”.
Written by Teodor Reljić
Project co-ordinator: Clare Azzopardi
With the help of: Kirsty Azzopardi, Leanne Ellul and Albert Gatt
Proofreader: Dwayne Ellul