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Gibraltar authors bring Calpean zest to literary festival events


Local authors Adolfo Canepa, Richard Garcia, Mary Chiappe and Sam Benady, and Humbert Hernandez are to appear at this year’s Gibunco Gibraltar International Literary Festival.

Former AACR Chief Minister Adolfo Canepa, pictured right, was Sir Joshua Hassan’s right-hand man for many years. Currently Speaker and Mayor of the Gibraltar Parliament, Mr Canepa recently published his memoirs Serving My Gibraltar, in which he gives a candid account of his illustrious and extensive political career.

Mr Canepa, who was first elected to the Rock’s House of Assembly in 1972, has held all the major public offices in Gibraltar, including that of Leader of the Opposition.

Richard Garcia, a retired teacher, senior civil servant and former Chief Secretary, is no stranger to the festival. He has written numerous books in recent years, delving into the Rock’s social history, including the evolution of local commerce. An internationally recognised philatelist, Mr Garcia will be presenting his latest work commemorating the 50th anniversary of the event’s main sponsor, the Gibunco Group, and recounting the Bassadone family history since 1737.

Mary Chiappe, half of the successful writing tandem behind the locally flavoured detective series ‘The Bresciano Mysteries’ – the other half being Sam Benady – returns to the festival with her co-author, pictured together left, to delight audiences with the suggestively titled The Dead Can’t Paint, seventh and final instalment of their detective series.

Mrs Chiappe a former politician, teacher and government minister in the 1960s, noted for her humorous autobiographical work and ‘serious light verse’, is also an accomplished newspaper columnist.

Retired paediatrician Sam Benady, lifelong stalwart of the Heritage Trust, has a solid writing career behind him. In the fiction genre, he authored Sherlock Holmes in Gibraltar and The Keys of the City, now translated and published as Las Llaves de Gibraltar. He has also written several books on the history of Gibraltar, including a biography of General Sir George Don and, his major work, a history of the old St Bernard’s Hospital.

Humbert Hernandez, teacher, poet, former social activist and anti-conscription campaigner, recently published a book Conscript or Convict? depicting a turbulent period in his life when he ended up imprisoned for his refusal to do military service. He also has a collection of short stories (El Acordeonista y Otras Historias) and a book of poems (Paisaje Interior) to his name and a long involvement in local amateur theatre.

The festival is also pleased to feature Mario Finlayson, the doyen of Gibraltar’s artists, discussing his lifetime involvement in art both as a creator and as a school teacher. His aptly named autobiography A Lifetime In Art was published in 2011, while his dream of a permanent art gallery in Gibraltar was realised earlier this year with the establishment of the eponymous National Art Gallery at the City Hall building.

Mr Finlayson has been the towering figure of local art, inspiring young artists with his prolific output and commanding huge respect from his peers.

Minister for Tourism Samantha Sacramento said she was delighted at the increased local participation in the literary festival.

Minister Sacramento said: “It is a great opportunity for our writers to share such a prestigious platform with established world-class authors. It is right that Gibraltar, the talent of Gibraltarians and the stories of struggle, endurance and achievement in our community, also have a place in this event. It is good to remember our past and also to share it with wider, global audiences.”


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