Winner of Malta National Book Prize 2018
Shortlisted for European Poet of Freedom 2020

“In his prize-winning cycle of poems called Erbgħin Jum (2017), Antoine Cassar took the strains of love within the (idealised Maltese) family to a whole new level with his heart-wrenching account of domestic strife and violence. This collection, that has touched (and shocked) many readers to the core, challenges the taboos surrounding representations of the family in Maltese poetry.” 

Dr Adrian Grima, Think Magazine, 2019

Forty Days is a book-length poem on childhood trauma, depression, and walking as a process of healing. A brutally personal pilgrimage in the cartographies of the past, without compass or walking stick.

Each daytime chapter narrates a walk, in a landscape real or metaphorical, as a means of reflection, a cleansing of the blood, a cultivation of hope, or for the simple, sensual pleasure of movement. Between walks, the nighttime chapters, born of insomnia, interrogate the phantoms of childhood and the shadows they continue to cast in the present.

Madness. Rage. Paranoia. Yet at the same time, each small step leads to lucidity, understanding, and the possibility of redemption.

Edited by Immanuel Mifsud and published by Ede, the book is designed by Marco Scerri, and illustrated with eight ‘stations’ and a map from woodcuts by Steven Scicluna.

Steven Scicluna’s map of the Qrendi coastline, indicating the geographical features mentioned in Day 29 and other walks. Originally made for the Polish version of the book, then included in the 2nd edition of the Maltese.

Selected ‘days’ and ‘nights’ are published in English on Versopolis. Self-translated, edited by Albert Gatt. With an introductory essay by Dr Adrian Grima.

Sample English booklet available upon request.

The Polish edition, Czterdzieści dni, translated by Zuzanna Gawron (from the English bridge version), was published by IKM in 2020, as one of the books shortlisted for the European Poet of Freedom award.

Fragments of the book were set to music by Marcin Mirowski, and recited by Marcin Miodek for Radio Gdańsk.

The book is available to buy on several online bookshops.

Noc 0 (Night 0) – short film by Esy-floresy studio animacji
voices: Anna Kociarz, Maciej Konopiński
production: Urszula Morga, Bartosz Mikołajczy

Partial translations in other languages:

Arabic – tr. Ahmad M. Ahmad, in Al-Araby Al-Jadid

French – tr. Elizabeth Grech, in Bacchanales

Galician – tr. Yolanda Castaño, Malta Mediterranean Translation Workshop 2019

German – tr. Marija Vella

Romanian – tr. Marina Tătărâm, Litvest Timișoara 2019 & Poets in Transylvania anthology 2022

Slovenian – tr. Andrej Pleterski, in Wara Settembru, Vilenica 2018
Slovenian – tr. Peter Semolič, in Poiesis

Spanish – tr. Carmen Herrera, in Revista Nayagua

Ukrainian – tr. Ostap Sylvynsky, Lviv Book Forum 2018

Erbgħin Jum was the subject of a B.A. thesis in Maltese Literature by Jean Paul Borg, focusing on representations of family. Borg’s thesis was awarded the Premju Oliver Friggieri in 2022.


Poetry takes on a new lilt – Lara Calleja in Isles of the Left
Journey of childhood trauma – Rowna Baldacchino in Times of Malta
Introductory essay by Dr Adrian Grima on Versopolis

Il-poeżija tieħu xejra oħra – Lara Calleja f’Isles of the Left
Għarwien fil-Għeden u mbagħad lil hinn minnu – Kevin Saliba fl-Illum

Review in Polish by Marcin Świątkowski
Review in Polish on book blog Przeczytane. Napisane.

Reviews on Goodreads


The ache of sincerity – interview with Teo Reljić in MaltaToday
Live interview with Simona Cassano, Malta Mediterranean Literature Festival 2019
On poetry as therapy blogpost written between Day 11 and Night 12

Intervista pubblika ma’ Dr Adrian Grima – Festival tal-Ktieb fuq il-Kampus 2019

Nekaj misli o poeziji kot terapiji – Slovenian translation (by Peter Semolič) of On poetry as therapy, in Poiesis

Interviews with Polish translator Zuzanna Gawron:
Interview by Adam Pluszka for European Poet of Freedom award
Interview (and a walk in the forest) for the Polish Association of Literary Translators
Podcast Na Przekład


Concert-reading at book launch in Studio Solipsis, with Alex Vella Gera (guitar), Adolf Formosa (bass) & Mark ‘Zizza’ Abela (drums)
Ken Scicluna jaqra Jum 29 u Lejl 30 fuq KwartaKtieb, MaltaToday – Spotify
Jum 1, Lejl 2 u Jum 7 fuq Maħżen Poeżija
Jum 9 – Urgence Poésie, Lodève

Night 4 (fragments) in Maltese, Arabic (Rasha Abbas), English (Astrid Alben), German (Marija Vella) – Malta Mediterranean Literature Festival 2019

Polish-Maltese Duets, Embassy of Poland in Malta, 2021 – recital of Day 1 in Maltese (Paul Portelli) and Polish (Monika Jarosińska), plus 8 no-border haiku and Maltese translation of Szymborska’s poems Some people like poetry & Psalm

Noc 0 in Magazyn Pismo
Noc 2, Dzień 3, Noc 8, Dzień 29 (fragment) – recited by Marcin Miodek, music by Marcin Mirowski for IKM Gdańsk – Spotify