Amazing! Swiss-German journalist Gabriele Spiller has presented a picture book about the unique island of Gozo called “50 Reasons to Love Gozo.” In this interview, she gushes about why she wrote the book, what she loves most about Malta’s sister isle and what she misses during the pandemic.
A little bit about the book
“I've lived here for three years and I feel like I continue to discover something new every day. In my interviews and stories, I introduce firework makers, nativity scene builders, ravjul producers, fitness coaches, museum curators and band clubs,” Gabriele shares about her journey.
“The book was my heart's project and in photographer Maggie Bajada from Rabat I found an equally enthusiastic cooperation partner. She contributed over 70 colour photos that congenially illustrate the 50 articles.”
Who should read this?
“Actually, I thought of tourists and expats, but I am especially pleased that the book is also well received by Gozitans,” she shares. “Anyone who gets hold of it starts leafing through it and smiles. Almost everyone knows someone in it or is even related to them. This is also part of Gozo's charm: the short distances and the reliable community.” Yup! The beauty of living on a tight-knit island!
Gabriele shares that while uncovering stories and meeting with locals she was struck by a lot, but one particular story moved her. “I was touched by the accounts of Rita ta' Frenċ, the healer's niece. You can think what you like about the wonders, but his deeds are still noticed all over the world today. This is shown by the gifts and letters of thanks that continue to arrive.”
The author’s favourite things about Gozo
On a personal note, Gabriele also shares her own favourite things about the quirky island. “It is the colourful diversity that makes the island so appealing. Of course there are more than “50 reasons to love Gozo”, but I had to make a selection to finish. I think for newcomers, the nature, the freedom and the traditions are particularly attractive. Every individual should strive to protect these values.”
Pandemic blues: How did Gabriele experience Gozo during Covid?
“When I look at other countries, we are of course in a privileged position. But one must not forget that the lack of tourism is difficult for many inhabitants,” she shares, noting it’s been a tough time. “When I hope for a normalisation soon, I also think of the cancelled cultural events, festas, and concerts. The international impact of the classical music festivals cannot be underestimated. In this respect, I also hope that Gozo will establish itself as the European Capital of Culture in 2031.”
"50 Reasons to Love Gozo" is available for 19.90€ through the author’s website www.islandtexts.com (email: [email protected]) and on Amazon. In Gozo, you can buy it at the Country Terrace restaurant in Għajnsielem.