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Launch of Francis Berry's 'The Bride of Mosta' 10/5/2005

The book launch of Francis Berry’s 'The Bride of Mosta', edited and with an introduction by John Manduca, took place recently in the Board Room at the Farsons Brewery, Mriehel. The book was sponsored by The Farsons Foundation.

Mr Bryan A. Gera, Chairman of Simonds Farsons Cisk, opened the proceedings in the presence of the 90-year old poet and dramatist who flew to Malta for the occasion. A number of friends and admirers of Professor Francis Berry were also present for the launch.

Professor Berry is a poet and dramatist of distinction who had a brilliant academic career. He had retired professor emeritus from the Royal Holloway College of the University of London, and visited many countries, including the United States, Australia, India and Japan as a British Council lecturer.

John Manduca said he had written the introduction to the Ballad as a tribute to Francis Berry, and to place the story in its historic perspective. The Ballad had been written by Berry while teaching English at St Edward’s College in 1943. It had been broadcast over the Rediffusion system but had remained unpublished until now.

John Manduca, who edited the book, said that the ‘play for broadcasting’ dealt with a sixteenth century love-story, a famous Maltese legend, built round a historic fact, which took place in 1526. This was when an incursion by corsairs from the Barbary Coast resulted in the capture of a young bride, who was taken to Tripoli and presented to the Sultan. Declining his advances, the bride, Marianna, was rescued by her lover, Toni, and brought back to her homeland. ‘The Bride’ forms part of Malta’s rich folklore.

Mgr George Mifsud Montanaro, spoke of Francis Berry’s better-known works including Gospel of Fire, Snake in the Moon, and The Galloping Centaur. While in Malta, Berry had written Malta 1942, Malta Elegy (Remembering Francis Pius Gatt), Florence and A Day in Summer.

'The Bride of Mosta', which includes twenty-four illustrations, is published by Publishers Enterprises Group (PEG) Ltd.