Gibraltar was the theme of most of the talks yesterday on the opening day of the fifth edition of the Gibraltar Gibunco Literary Festival.
The themes were varied from the Great Siege to finding the lost world of the Neanderthals, the Changing Face of Gibraltar in the last century and what it means to be Gibraltarians.
In fact this year, more so than in previous editions, the festival is presenting a wide-ranging choice of books on Gibraltar and Gibraltarian authors.
Add to this all the speakers from the UK and the fascinating stories on numerous themes, and it all combines to bring a feast of rich literary topics to the festival.
Many of yesterday’s presentations were fully subscribed. The literary buzz was evident in all three venues – Garrison Library, The Convent and John Mackintosh Hall.
It was in the main theatre at the John Mackintosh Hall where pupils and students from all schools gathered for talks – the ever popular Christopher Lloyd who today launches “The Story of Gibraltar” in the Wallbook series, and long-time supporter of the festival, William Chislett, who this year is back taking another look at the Brexit challenge for Spain and Gibraltar.
Festival Director, Nicky Guerrero, said day one had gone very smoothly and he was especially pleased about “the very enthusiastic audiences in what has been a very busy day one of the festival”.
From 10am a packed downstairs room at the Garrison Library – standing room only, heard Roy and Lesley Adkins pieced together the story in their own words of “ Gibraltar: The Greatest Siege in British history”.
The Finlaysons: Clive, Geraldine and Stewart, for the first time jointly spoke of how they searched in different corners of the globe to uncover the lost world of the Neanderthals.
Through dramatic and stunning wildlife photographs they showed what the Neanderthals would have seen and where part of it still exists in the world today. Their presentation was sponsored by the Chronicle.
This was the first book launched at this year’s festival – Lost World: Secrets of a World Heritage Site.
The second book launched by Richard Garcia presented us with an image of how Gibraltar changed over 100 years in ‘The Changing Face of Gibraltar of the 20th Century’ through old postcards and images rarely seen.
For the first time the festival also welcomed Gibraltarian Mark Sanchez who had the unenviable task of representing what it means to be Gibraltarian – a talk which at the end posed many questions from the public.
The afternoon also gave way to local authors Priscilla Sacramento and Gail Francis-Tiron.
Other themes included the makings of a good crime novel with no new comers to the festival: Felix Francis and Robert Daws, and journalist and Jonathan Meades uncovering the plagiarists in the kitchen.
Always fascinating is the subject of the British Monarchy.
With The Queen and Prince Philip celebrating 70 years of marriage on Monday it was not surprising that on the opening day one of the UK’s leading royal commentators, Ingrid Seward, would give a fascinating account of their lives. The Queen was just 13 when they first met. They were married when she was 21. Ms Seward gave an interesting perspective on their marriage providing revealing insight into their lives together.
Today the theme on the Rock is further expanded with the Gibraltar Chronicle Lecture at the Garrison Library at 12 noon.
Presented by Chronicle Editor Brian Reyes he talks to Nick Rankin about his latest book “Defending the Rock”.