Interview with Meinrad Calleja

Published 2014-01-27.
When did you first start writing?
I always loved reading and think each text you interact with is a form of writing in motion, even if subconsciously. The first book of mine was published in 1999 and is entitled, "Aspects of Racism in Malta." I had read a number of books about the intersection of racism and discrimination with human rights and originally presented the study of racism in Malta as a university assignment. I was encouraged by my tutor to publish it.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My latest book, "The Battle Roar of Silence - Foucault and the Carceral System" basically addresses the accrued frustrations and delusions which people suffer in silence, in relation to human rights violations and other injustices. The main focus of my writing in this book is on the prison system as a signifier of 'law' and the subconscious signification it inflicts on people. This signification creates an entire industry of parasitic pseudo-scientists who pathologize any types of difference or otherness. People are thus forced into moulds they do not necessarily fit into and/or feel comfortable in.
What motivated you to become an author?
I think the main motivation for me here was having a voice to critically analyse human suffering that is born in silence and rarely articulated. Writing is recorded in history and, if objectively appraised by future generations, can also register one's perspective.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
My greatest joy in writing is that of contributing to the transformation of the perspective of others, by sharing views which may poke other people into understanding dynamics they are often oblivious to. Critical comments are also a source of joy for me.
What are you working on next?
I am currently working on three projects: (1) a study about post-independence Malta; (2) a study related to the issue of immigration, and (3) a study of sexuality.
What is your writing process?
My writing process is actually a reading process. I read and register notes that are organised by author, theme and specific points. When the material I gather reaches a point of interest, it is time to write.
Where did you grow up and how did this influence your writing?
I spent four years of my childhood living in Germany. Most of life, however, was spent in Malta, with intermediate stays elsewhere. I think travel is very important. Understanding diversity allows you to appreciate both subjectivity and objectivity, and so humanity.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
I am a very positive and optimistic person, even if aware of negative realities. I am comfortable with life and very happy enjoying diverse and balanced aspects of my living experience, while being quite aware of my limitations, vices and virtues.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I enjoy reading, card playing, socialising, food and travel. I also make it a point to involve myself in some learning processes.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I have written a number of short stories, only a few of which have been published anonymously.
What do you read for pleasure?
I love philosophy and literature. I am currently reading a series of books on philosophy by Badiou and another set of novels by Dostoevsky.
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Books by This Author

The Philosophy of Desert Metaphors in Ibrahim al-Koni: The Bleeding of the Stone
Price: $9.99 USD. Words: 53,690. Language: English. Published: October 8, 2013 by FARAXA Publishing. Categories: Nonfiction » Philosophy » Essays, Nonfiction » Philosophy » Contemporary philosophy
In The Philosophy of Desert Metaphors in Ibrahim al-Koni - The Bleeding of the Stone, Meinrad Calleja takes a close look at one of al-Koni’s works – The bleeding of the stone – and attempts to prise out philosophical reflections concealed in the text. In it the desert provides a landscape rich in allusions while metaphors allow readers to engage in creative interpretation.
The Battle Roar of Silence: Foucault and the Carceral System
Price: $14.99 USD. Words: 109,960. Language: English. Published: September 11, 2013 by FARAXA Publishing. Categories: Nonfiction » Philosophy » Movements / Critical theory, Nonfiction » Philosophy » Political
The Battle Roar of Silence: Foucault and the Carceral System explores the philosophical rationales sustaining morality, law, punishment and the carceral system as part of the globalisation discourse. This is an interdisciplinary study fusing aspects of sociology and psychoanalysis in a philosophical framework to tender a politically-charged critique of contemporary modes of domination and power.