Ġorġ Mallia

Author, cartoonist, and instructional technologist

 
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HREJJEF TAS-SHARIJIET TA' L-AHWA GRIMM (The Enchanted Tales of the Brothers Grimm) were translated by Guzi Mallia (1917-2004), unanimously known as In-Nannu Peppu by children who grew up with his children's programmes on radio in the fifties and sixties, and published by Lejn ix-Xefaq, edited by Sammy Calleja (1952-1998) for whom they became a labour of love.

I was still a student doing my first degree at the University when Sammy commissioned the illustrations for the first of five books from me, and this was my first large illustration project ... leading to some 50 illustrations, plus covers. The first three books I separated by hand in two colours, the last two were ALSO separated by hand, but this time in four colours.

The books came out in 1979 and 1980.

 

 
 

Gorg Mallia, Guzi Mallia (no relation), and Sammy Calleja signing copies of book 1, back in 1979.

In 1983, David Bugelli of Pubblikazzjoni Bugelli, decided to publish a sixth book of tales, comprising seven of the longer tales that had been left out of the original five books. He asked me to illustrate them, and the book was published during that year.

In the meantime, books 1 and 2 had gone out of print, and David wished to publish them in a new edition. I also illustrated those, keeping some of the original illustrations and adding new ones. So the books, published respectively in 1990 and 1994, have a mixture of pictures ranging over fifteen years from 1979.

The covers were wraparound in full, separated colour. In book 1 there was a four page, art paper insert with full-colour illustrations. This time around, I also did the production of the books.

Both David and Guzi wished me to help them republish books three to five of the series, but unfortunately, other pressing matters derailed me and I could not ... something I feel sorry about, since it seems that that chance has gone forever, given Guzi's death in 2005 and the fact that David Bugelli retired from business some years ago.

 

 

 

The following are some of the illustrations for Hrejjef tas-Sharijiet. The work spanned 15 years:

 

 

Many of the original books are still in school and public libraries, and they are still read and enjoyed by thousands.

They are a tribute to the work of Sammy Calleja, who believed in books, and particularly children's books in Maltese, even at a time when publication was very expensive and returns small.

 

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