Born in Ħamrun, (Malta) Calleja
studied at the Lyceum and St.
Michael’s Training College for Teachers (1964-66). He left Malta in 1974
to study at the University of London, Birkbeck College, and then in 1990
he attended North Florida University, and Jacksonville University,
Florida, from where he obtained a BA in
Art and French.
Calleja was a committee member of the Moviment Qawmien
Letterarju in the
sixties. At the same time he started writing plays for the stage, radio,
and television. These include
Anestesija (1969), Għargħar
(1979), Ċens Perpetwu
(1969), Satira (1970),
Jum Fost l-Oħrajn (1970), En Passant (1970),
Iġsmaiħirsa (1970) and Għażiż Angelo (1971).
Before he emigrated in 1974, he published Erba’ Drammi
(1972) which is still used in secondary schools as a text in
Maltese literature. Since his return to Malta in 1991, he has written and published
three other plays, Għasfur taċ-Ċomb (1993),
Il-Belliegħa fil-Bir (1994) and U l-Anġlu
Calleja's success as a dramatist
is mainly due to his integration of the
realistic style with symbolic characteristics that make his plays
From Maltese Biographies of the Twentieth Century,
Publications, Malta, 1997.
NATIONAL BOOK AWARDS: 2002 and 2004
Other publications by Oreste
Calleja include Il-Festa bil-Bandieri
(publ. 2002) and Pawlu Redux
(publ. 2004), both
winners of the National book award for drama for the respective years of