Joe Friggieri is Professor of Philosophy and member of Senate at the University of Malta. He holds doctorates from Milan and Oxford and is also a poet, playwright and theatre director. His publications include two books on the English philosopher J.L. Austin, three volumes of poetry, three collections of short stories, a number of plays, as well as In-Nisga tal-Hsieb, the first history of philosophy in Maltese. He has won several literary awards, including the National Literary Prize three times (1993, 1999 and 2003).
Professor Friggieri is well-known among theatre audiences for his exciting and highly original productions of over forty plays, including seven of Shakespeare’s best-loved works, and for his translations of Aristophanes, Molière, Ibsen, Chekhov, Pirandello, Ugo Betti, Ionesco and Arthur Miller. He has also directed four operas and written the libretto of Charles Camilleri’s Il-Weghda, the first opera in the Maltese language, as well as the lyrics of three song cycles by the same composer.
Joe Friggieri was chairman of the Manoel Theatre (1990-93), member of the Broadcasting Authority (1993-96), editor of the arts journal Arti (1971-74) and of the monthly newspaper Illum (1975-80), chairman of the Malta Council for Culture and the Arts (2003-05), founder-editor of Kultura 21, as well as presenter and producer of cultural programmes on radio and television. He was guest research scholar and lecturer at the Universities of Venice, Amsterdam, St Andrews, Augsburg, Sassari and Genova. He is president of the Philosophy Society, chairman of the Board of Theatre Studies and a regular contributor to political, social and cultural debate.
His latest collection of short stories, Hrejjef ghal Zmienna (Tales for Our Times, Progress Press, Malta, 2004), written originally in Maltese, was translated into English and extensively reviewed by Professor David E. Cooper in the London Times Literary Supplement under the title Crammed with Fine Dreams. Professor Cooper wrote: “Joe Friggieri conveys a gentle nostalgia for times not so very long past, and embellished by memories of a childhood that never quite was. What is recalled with a sense of loss are the days when people had the leisure to wonder at the mystery of simple things - the schoolboys, for example, whose imagination is stirred by their cardboard kaleidoscopes until a new teacher proscribes them as a waste of time.”
Optimism versus Pessimism
"The Battle of Ideas is a weekend like no other. I found the 2011 festival immensely stimulating. It gave me a great deal to think about, and a whole new list of books to read - from Virgil to Vygotsky. On to greater battles in 2012!"
Ken Macleod, award-winning science fiction writer; author, The Restoration Game and Intrusion