My name is Laurent Ropà. Though my name sounds French, I was born at Xagħra on Christmas Day, 1891. My birth name is Lorenzo Rapa. My family emigrated to Algeria when I was two years old and I never returned to my native country. I started attending school at the age of six and later on I attended the École Normal of Constantine.
In 1913 I obtained French citizenship. During WW2, I served as sub-lieutenant on the French front. I was wounded twice and was decorated for my courage. When the war ended, I became a teacher and took up residence at Piacé, in western France. I retired as headmaster twenty one years later.
Although I never returned to my native country, I loved Malta and its language. I loved literature and wrote a number of poems, published in three volumes. I wrote three novels in French, describing the life of Maltese emigrants in Algeria.
In the 1930’s I became editor of the magazine Melita where I published Maltese poems translated to French. In November 1935, I addressed Dun Karm Psaila for the first time as “il-poeta nazzjonali”, in my article Malta et sa Litterature in La Grande Revue, a magazine pulished in Tunes. In 1937 I published the anthology Poetes Maltais and in February 1939 I translated to French Dun Karm’s Il-Jien u Lil Hinn Minnu. I became a great friend of Dun Karm and I kept in contact with many Maltese writers. Through me, especially through the anthology Poetes Maltais, many Maltese writers and their works became known in foreign literary fields.
This monument, the work of Wistin Camilleri, was unveiled in April 1975 on the initiative of the Klabb Kotba Maltin in collaboration with the departments of Maltese and French of the University of Malta.
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