Illustrator: Lisa Falzon
Publication Date: 2009
Page Count: 480
“Il-Ġnien tad-Dmugħ” shatters records
The third and final volume in the Fiddien trilogy by Simon Bartolo and Loranne Vella, Il-Ġnien tad-Dmugħ, was launched on 11 December at Caraffa Stores, Birgu Waterfront. It is the highly-awaited conclusion to the most successful Maltese children’s book ever. Hundreds of kids and adults packed the Caraffa vaults for two separate launches: One for kids, with actors in full costume and make-up, quizzes, games, dances, face-painting, and exclusive readings from the book; and a night launch for adults, where the vaults were turned into a nightclub with music by DJ Bob.
The first two volumes, Sqaq l-Infern and Wied Wirdien, were the fastest-ever sellers of a Maltese children’s book, and went on to be translated into French and German. The new book, Il-Ġnien tad-Dmugħ, broke its own records by selling an unprecedented 1,500 copies within the first few hours of launching.
It is difficult to overstate the impact that these books had on Maltese children’s literature. Thousands of fans blog and post online comments about the books, giving their predictions on the ending of the trilogy, begging for sneak peeks and discussing the merits of the various characters. The trilogy’s website, www.il-fiddien.com, has been given a totally new look, with new content to match, for the launch of the third installment.
The blend of reality and fantasy proved a winning formula for Bartolo and Vella, and their books have appealed not only to their target audience of children and teenagers, but also to large numbers of adults and especially of hitherto-English-reading people. The illustrations for the whole trilogy, including the Manga section at the beginning of the third book, are the work of artist Lisa Falzon.