Victoria Melita Zammit is the newest name amongst the many authors that have come out of the Maltese islands. A student at the University of Malta, she is currently reading for a Masters in Interpreting Studies after graduating with an Honours Bachelor of Arts in English back in 2016. She comes from a family of writers; her father is a published historian, whilst her great-uncle, Laurence Mizzi has written a number of well known Maltese books, such as Inkwiet u Qaddisin and the Wartime Diary of a Maltese Boy, so one could say that writing was somehow intertwined into her destiny from the very start. Indeed, Victoria has now followed in her relative’s footsteps.
; Victoria has now gone one step further by publishing her first book, Painted Words. Painted Words is essentially a collection of poetry, divided into three sections which look at heartbreak and pain; the influences of the world around us; and about questions that we always seem to have on our minds. Also within the collection, one finds a poetic series titled ‘Definition’ that follows the story of a couple as they come together, and then fall apart again.
Painted Words is no doubt a poignant and deeply personal collection, so we sat down with Victoria to discuss her inspirations for it, and to take a deeper look into this intriguing collection.
This is your first published work; so what made you want to start off with a collection such as Painted Words?
My father’s also a writer, and he always told me there’s no market for poets. The funny answer would be that I did this to spite him. The real answer is that I actually just love poetry. I’ve been writing poetry for a very long time now and have a blog dedicated to my poems. At first I wanted my first publication to be something along the lines of a novella but at some point you get impatient. I thought “I’ve been writing poems for so long, why not start there?” I have all the time in the world for a short story collection or a novella.
Why Painted Words?
My blog is called Of Scripted Shadows and Painted Words. But apart from that I’ve always considered literature and art form. It requires discipline and training like any other art form, like painting. And good words are like art; they’re painted with very careful calculations, not just thrown together. We’ve all read a book that had a quote that gave us chills. That’s what I hope to achieve.
The book itself is divided into three sections, all of which contain poems which seem to be equally poignant to you. What inspired you to choose these poems specifically?
I think it was a mixture of what they meant to me and the amount of soul I put into them. Some of the poems are ones I know are good and ones I worked very hard on. Some are more personal and show a side of me that not many people might know about, and show parts of my psyche that I’m not willing to talk about in conversation. One of the parts however is The Definition Series which is essentially the story of this couple. I wrote that in 2 days while living in Ireland for 4 months. The process was fun – I asked my friends to give me 15 random words from the dictionary and then I had to write a poetry series with those words, and it had to be a story. It’s the first time I did a challenge like that and honestly it was so great I just want to share it with people.
Why should people read “Painted Words”?
Apart from supporting local artists, I think this collection of poetry is something that has potential to reach people. I’ve been through a lot in my own mental health as a human being, and some of that is reflected in my poetry. I’ve been through a lot in my relationships with people – romantic or not – and I definitely put in poems about that in this collection. They always talk about Shakespeare being relatable. That’s what I want to be – relatable.
Through these poems, what is the message you want to get across to the reader?
It depends on what you’re reading. If you’re going for ‘The Ruin of My Generation’, it’s all about appreciating technology instead of demonizing it. If you’re looking at ‘I’m Waiting for the Loneliness’, it’s all about break ups and how they affect us. If you’re looking at ‘Tricksy Spirit’, it’s about my love of Shakespeare. I guess what I’m really trying to bring out is the human in us and at the same time showing young people that poetry isn’t boring or stuffy. Some of it is very raw.
Will we be seeing more of Victoria Melita Zammit on our bookshelves in the future?
Oh, hopefully! I have a blog on Facebook called ‘Of Scripted Shadows’ and people can follow that for updates, but I’m working on two publications – a short story collection and a novella that I’ve been writing for 3 years and that’s finally entered the editing stage. I’ll definitely keep writing, I’ll just hopefully churn out something good enough to publish. You know what they say about the monkey and the typewriter: eventually it’ll write the works of Shakespeare. Hopefully that’ll happen to me.
Painted Words will be officially launched on March 10th at the Beer Cave in Valletta, where you can meet the author and even buy the book itself. On 15 copies will be on sale at the launch however, but till then you can buy your copy on Amazon at THIS link.