The award-giving ceremony of the 2017 edition of the National Book Prize was held at Auberge de Castille yesterday evening, under the patronage of the Prime Minister. The event, presented by well-known TV presenter Mark Laurence Zammit, started at 7:30 pm with an opening address by the National Book Council executive chairman Mark Camilleri. In his address, the executive chairman revealed two items of news regarding the National Book Council – the newly acquired status of the Council as a legal entity and, secondly, the acquisition of new premises in a historic building in Valletta.
The awarded books were then announced in their separate categories, ranging from general research to novels in Maltese and English. The last two prizes, the Best Emerging Author Award and the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award are career rather than book prizes. The latter honours a lifetime of literary work, not only as literary output but also in terms of one’s contribution to literary scholarship, to the education of local communities and to the nurturing of the local literary culture. This year the honour was bestowed on Victor Fenech, who was present to recieve the prize from the Prime Minister at the end of the ceremony.
Among the highlights of the evening, the winner in the category ‘novels in Maltese and English’ was an Australian lady of Maltese origin, Lou Drofenik, who won the prize with an English novel The Confectioner’s Daughter, published by Horizons. Immanuel Mifsud won the first prize in poetry with his collection Ħuta, published by Klabb Kotba Maltin. The winner in the category ‘short stories in Maltese and English’ was Alfred Sant with his collection Western – bejn rakkonti bejn divertimenti (SKS, 2016)
The event closed with a speech by the Prime Minister, in which he lauded the work by local literary agents, including the National Book Council, publishers and the authors themselves who have created a thriving ecosystem of local books and readership.
The National Book Council thanks the members of the jury who served on the adjudication board for the National Book Prize 2017: Prof. Yosanne Vella, Mario Ellul and Prof. Godfrey Baldacchino for the category ‘general research’, Andrè Vella Laurenti, Rueben Zammit and Claudine Borg for the categories ‘novels in Maltese and English’, ‘short stories in Maltese and English’ and ‘poetry in Maltese and English’.
WINNING TITLE IN CATEGORY NOVELS IN MALTESE AND ENGLISH
PRIZE GIVEN TO LOU DROFENIK FOR THE BOOK:
THE CONFECTIONER’S DAUGHTER
WINNING TITLE IN CATEGORY SHORT STORIES IN MALTESE AND ENGLISH
PRIZE GIVEN TO ALFRED SANT FOR THE BOOK
WESTERN: BEJN RAKKONTI, BEJN DIVERTIMENTI
WINNING TITLE IN CATEGORY POETRY IN MALTESE AND ENGLISH
PRIZE GIVEN TOIMMANUEL MIFSUD FOR THE BOOK
WINNING TITLE IN CATEGORY WORKS OF TRANSLATION
PRIZE GIVEN TOPAUL ZAHRA FOR THE BOOK
MARCEL PROUST: GĦAT-TFITTXIJA TAŻ-ŻMIEN MITLUF: MIX-XAQLIBA TA’ DAR SWANN COMBRAY
WINNING TITLE IN THE CATEGORY GENERAL RESEARCH
PRIZE GIVEN TOPATRICK J. FENECH FOR THE BOOK
THE MALTESE VILLAGE FESTA: A TRADITIONAL YEARLY RITUAL
WINNING TITLE IN CATEGORY BIOGRAPHICAL AND HISTORIOGRAPHICAL RESEARCH
PRIZE GIVEN TOJOSEPH VELLA BONDIN FOR THE BOOK
THE GREAT MALTESE COMPOSERS: HISTORICAL CONTEXT, LIVES AND WORKS
PRIZE FOR THE BEST BOOK PRODUCTION
GIVEN TO KEVIN CASHA FOR THE BOOK
PHOTOGRAPHY IN MALTA: THE HISTORY AND THE PROTAGONISTS