Oliver Friggieri (born 27 March 1947) is a Maltese poet, novelist, literary critic, and minor philosopher. In philosophy he is mostly interested in epistemology and existentialism.
Friggieri is the author of innumerable books. Since his main specialisation is literature, and particularly Maltese Literature, most of his publications are not of a directly philosophical nature. These include dictionaries of literature, oratories, cantatas, literary criticism, literary biographies, and anthologies of his own poetry. Particular mention should be given to Malta’s national poet, Dun Karm Psaila, of whom Friggieri is an uncontested expert. Friggieri also significantly contributed essays on Peter Caxaro and Michael Anthony Vassalli.
Apart from the frequent contributions in local periodicals and newspapers, of especial interest to philosophy are Friggieri’s novels and short stories. Generally speaking, these are imbued with pathos and profuse with philosophical reflections. Namely, they are the following:
1986 – Stejjer Għal Qabel Jidlam (Stories Before Twilight)
1991 – Fil-Gżira Taparsi Jikbru l-Fjuri (Feign Flowers on Feign Island)
1977 – Il-Gidba (The Lie)
1980 – L-Istramb (The Odd Fellow)
1986 – Fil-Parlament ma Jikbrux Fjuri (No Flowers Grow in Parliament)
1998 – Ġiżimin li Qatt ma Jiftaħ (Jasmines which Never Blossom)
2000 – It-Tfal Jiġu bil-Vapuri (Children Come in Ships)
2006 – La Jibbnazza Niġi Lura (I’ll Come Back After the Tempest)
2011 – Dik id-Dgħajsa f’Nofs il-Port (That Boat in Mid-Harbour)
2013 – Children Come by Ship (published by Austin Macauley Publishers)
2015 – Let Fair Weather Bring Me Home (published by Austin Macauley Publishers)
Friggieri was born in Floriana, Malta, in 1947. He studied at the bishop’s seminary, and then at the University of Malta. From here he acquired a Bachelor of Arts in Maltese, Italian and Philosophy (1968), and then a Masters (1975). In 1978 he acquired a Doctorate in Maltese Literature and Literary Criticism from the Catholic University of Milan, Italy.
Friggieri began his teaching career in 1968 by teaching Maltese and Philosophy in secondary schools. Then, in 1976, he moved on teaching Maltese at the University of Malta, first as Assistant Lecturer, then as Lecturer (1978), and later as Associate Lecturer (1988). In 1988 he was chosen Head of the Department of Maltese. He became Professor in 1990.
In the meantime, between 1970 and 1971 Friggieri was very active in Malta’s Literary Revival Movement (Moviment Qawmien Letterarju). He was on the editorial board of Il-Polz (1969–73), a Maltese literary periodical, of which he became editor (1974–75). He co-founded Is-Sagħtar (1971), a children’s literary and cultural magazine, and remained on its editorial board ever since. In 1971 he also collaborated in the establishment of a publishing house, Klabb Kotba Maltin (Maltese Book Club), which facilitated the publishing of books in Maltese. He has been the editor of the Journal of Maltese Studies since 1980. He is also a Member of the Association Internationale des Critiques Litteraires of Paris, France.
In 2008 Friggieri published his autobiography, Fjuri li ma Jinxfux (Unwithering Flowers), relevant to the years 1955–90 of his life.