The Literary Contest – Novels for Youth is an annual contest set up by the National Book Council in collaboration with Aġenzija Żgħażagħ with the aim of selecting and rewarding novels in Maltese that manage to address young adults and the various issues that the latter have to deal with in this particular stage of their life without adopting a moralising or didactic stance.
Applications for the 2017 Contest have been opened and all interested authors are invited to submit original texts of between 20,000 and 25,000 words aimed at young adults of 13 to 15 years of age. Applicants can be individuals or groups of individuals and the manuscripts have to be submitted under a nom de plume. All applicants must be at least 20 years old.
Besides the text, applicants must also provide a filled-in application form with the author’s original signature, a photocopy of their ID card and a synopsis of the story of at least 500 words. Three copies of both the text and the synopsis must be submitted under the chosen nom de plum along with the other documents.
The National Book Council will appoint three jurors who will select the winning entries according to a set of criteria. There are four criteria in all – development of plot and characters, originality, language and quality. For the first criterion, the judges will be looking at three aspects: denouement – the movement of the narrative action, which will be evaluated in terms of cogency and credibility – character development and rhythm.
The second criterion – originality – concerns the authors’ choice of themes and literary style. The jurors will be looking at the motivation behind these choices and evaluating them in terms of the interest they might hold for the target reader. Innovation and daring in themes and literary style will be rewarded by the jurors.
The use of language and figures of speech, particularly with regards to how relevant and fresh it comes across to young adult readers is the subject of the third criterion. Dialogue will be evaluated in terms of appropriateness of register and characterisation.
The last criterion asks jurors to consider the reading experience offered by the text. In particular, how effectively does the story avoid adopting a moralising or didactic tone? The selected manuscript will be an enjoyable and memorable read that enriches the reading experience of the target reader.
Applications together with the manuscripts and all requested documents should reach Aġenzija Żgħażagħ by noon of Friday 1st September 2017. They should be mailed to:
Konkors Letterarju – Kitba għaż-Żgħażagħ
Umberto Colosso St Joseph High Road