Item 47 - Friggieri, Joe

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Friggieri, Joe


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Born in Lija on 20 March 1946, Joe Friggieri is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Malta where he has been teaching for the last thirty years. He holds doctorates in Philosophy from Milan and Oxford and was guest research scholar at a number of universities, including Venice, Amsterdam, St Andrews, Durham, Augsburg, and Genoa. He is also a well-known poet, playwright, and theatre director and a regular contributor to public debate, especially on radio and television, where he has produced and presented a number of cultural programmes, including Prizma, Wicc imb’wicc mal-Kittieb, Il-Kwadru Tieghi, Kotba Ideat u Haijja and Il-Hsieb fl-Istejjer.
Joe Friggieri was chairman of the Manoel Theatre Management Committee (1990-93), member of the Broadcasting Authority (1993-96), and chairman of the Arts Council (2003-05). His literary works include Caghaq fil-Qolla (1987), Drammi (1989), Intervalli (1991), Kadenzi (1992), L-Istejjer tar-Ronnie (1994), Hrejjef ghal Zmienna (1996), Mitt Hajku (1997), MidDjarju ta’ Sara (1998), Zewg Drammi (2003), and It-Tulipan I-Iswed (2004), eighteen short plays for children and young adults. He was awarded the National Literary Prize three times (in 1993 for his poetry collection Kadenzi, in 1998 for his three-act play Mid-Djarju ta’ Sara, which was later shown on television, and in 2003 for Zewg Drammi, which included his other two highly-successful full-length plays, Tkun darb’ohra Mikelang and Trappisti He was editor of Arti (1971-74) and of the monthly newspaper Illum (1975-80), as well as founder-editor of Kultura 21, an Arts Council publication.
Joe Friggieri’s philosophical works include two books on the twentieth-century English philosopher J.L. Austin, Linguaggio e Azione (Milan 1981) and Actions and Speech Actions (1991), as well as In-Nisga tal-Hsieb (2000), the first part of the first-ever history of philosophy in Maltese. The second and third parts are scheduled to come out in 2006. Linguaggio e Azione was the first philosophy book by a Maltese author to be published in Italy. He also co-edited and contributed to Interfaces (University of Malta, 1997), a collection of essays on philosophy and bordering areas in honour of Peter Serracino Inglott.
For the theatre Joe Friggieri has directed seven Shakespeare plays as well as his own acclaimed translations of works by Sophocles, Aristophanes, Moliere, Ibsen, Chekov, Pirandello, Ugo Betti, Arthur Miller, and Eugene lonesco, together with plays by Tennessee Williams, Alan Ayckbourn, and Maltese playwrights Francis Ebejer, Alfred Sant, Vince Vella, and Oreste Calleja. He was the artistic director of operas by Verdi and Puccini and wrote the libretto of the first opera in the Maltese language, Il-Weghda, composed by Charles Camilleri. He also wrote the lyrics for Camilleri’s frequently performed and highly-evocative Kanti Popolari, Ohanjiet minn Malta (sung by Mary Rose Mallia) and Mal-Kant tal-Bahar (featuring mezzo-soprano Sophia Grech). A number of his poems were also set to music by Joe Vella in the song-cycles Il-Poezija tal-Bahrija and Malta, performed by Maria Frendo on the occasion of Malta’s twenty-fifth Independence anniversary celebrations.
Friggieri’s short stories were translated into English by Paul Xuereb (Tales for Our Times, 2004) and into French by Thomas Burgel, Julie Miclot, and Sophie Taze (Con tes de notre temps, 2004).
Joe Friggieri is married to Teresa and they have a son, David.

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