Doris Vella Camilleri (born November 1931) lived in New York in the late sixties and Toronto and London for most of her married life. She now resides in Malta her country of origin.
Doris is a fully qualified teacher who has gained a vast experience in teaching a multicultural section of children in two different countries. She is bi-lingual, hence most of her works are written in both English and Maltese.
Her research for her book “The Ġaħan of the Mediterranean” – Premju Nazzjonali tal-Ktieb 2006 (First prize – National Book Council), with the help of Margaret Naudi Griffiths (Encyclopedie de l’Islam), is about the Trickster character originating from Bukhara in Russia. Ġaħan has been researched and has been chosen as the children’s favourate choice in children’s literature. Lately Doris came across the English Trickster character under the English name of Peter.
Her next researched opus into folktale is her work: “The Good, The Bad and The Miraculous in Folktale”. In this book Doris Vella Camilleri takes traditional folktales and enables the reader to see them in different ways. The tales become much more than just an interesting story. The tales come to have a deeper significance and levels of meaning. This is a very useful contribution to these age-old tales. The function of the author is to provide new frameworks and values through which to see the tales. This book works very well in enlarging, enriching and focusing our perception. – Edward de Bono – The Lateral Thinker.
Doris was invited to take part at the Conference “After Grimm: Fairy Tales and the Art of Story Telling” in 2012 at which famous International Folklorists were chief speakers. Her contribution at this Conference was her newly discovered Maltese tale “Fenċelċen” (Fennel) by Bertha Ilg at the Archives of Leipzig.
“The Bride of Mosta” (Maltese and English version) by Doris Vella Camilleri is a novel in which two stories run parallel. The first is the modern day struggle of Dolora and her husband Hector who after many years return to their island home to escape the rat race of much bigger countries abroad. This story is interwoven with an old Maltese legend which tells of the beautiful daughter of the count of the village of Mosta who is abducted on her wedding day and sold into slavery at the court of the Sultan. The idea of ransom is central to both narratives and binds the old and the modern in a story of unconditional love.
“The one that stayed behind” (English and Maltese version) by Doris Vella Camilleri is the story of her close-knit family of seven children jolted into a tragedy of colossal respercussions that maimed and split her family in different directions overnight in World War II. She lost her father and two elder brothers in one air-raid. The thirteen-year old vows to re-untie her remaining two brothers and two sisters to the family after they were taken away to an orphanage because of famine in wartime Malta. This heartbreaking story is presented through the eyes of Dora – the eldest daughter who was left behind. “It is told so simply … but presented with such sympathy but no sentimentality. The larger dimensions of the war are touched upon only as befits the theme. It is worth telling both emotionally and as a piece of history.” – The Literary Consultancy (TLC London).
“Jum il-Ħaqq” – Premju Nazzjonali tal-ktieb 2015 (First prize – National Book Council 2015), the killing in Strait Street, a documented play by Doris Vella Camilleri about the young soldier sent to the gallows, unlawfully.