Why I wrote Sons Of Immersion

And the cycle begins again. The summer is upon me and a new novel is manuscripted, awaiting, like a hopeful embryo, to be published, birthed. Literary agents and publishers all over the world know of its existence and…who knows, this could be the one. The novel is Malta’s equivalent of Midnight’s Children; at least, that is the ambition. Stylistically it unites stark realism (racism, illegal immigration, Mintoff, human-trafficking) with a touch of magic (one-with-nature magic, naturelment). Its main protagonist, Mujahid, is a Somali immigrant arriving in Malta’s shore with nothing to his name but, well, one hell of a name: one-with-nature Mujahid. His gift, of being able to immerse with any living thing, be it animal, human or plant, was a way for me to indulge my love of nature. It is the super-power I always wanted. Followed closely by something a la Spider-man. But more than mere self-indulgence, the gift works on a more principled level. It is a metaphor, what else, that represents our biophilia, our urge to be one with nature ourselves. An urge which all children feel, but is somehow being stifled by an increasingly superficial world. People like Mujahid, those who feel at one with nature (not in any Buddhist, hippie sense, rather I’m thinking conservationists, scientists, etc) are the true heroes of our planet today, and it is they that can save our crumbling world. Admittedly these thoughts developed and evolved during the writing of the novel. Initially I set off with the ambition of taking a literary viewpoint on the machinations of racism. Malta, our half-a-million strong island, is no stranger to foreign presence. But what we’re facing in our generation is entirely new: the influx of immigrants from the African continent. They have been arriving in such numbers that they have become just that, a number. I wanted to research their story and learn why they would leave a continent I would so desperately love to visit. The truth isn’t pretty. Instead of respecting these migrants we ostracise them. Well not in my book!

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