The call for the 2023 Doreen Micallef National Poetry Contest opens on Monday 5 June.

The Doreen Micallef National Poetry Contest is the most prestigious prize for a single poem contest in Maltese. Each year the contest is judged by a new set of judges appointed by the National Book Council.

The jury evaluates all poems anonymously according to a set of criteria which consider authenticity, imagination, distinctiveness of voice, and original use of rhythm and figures of speech. 

Contest winners will be announced and awarded their prize at an official ceremony during the 2023 Malta Book Festival. The jury reserves the right not to issue the awards if it deems submissions not to have reached the required standard.

Three Prizes

First Prize: €1,000
Second Prize: €200
Third Prize: €100

How to apply

Contest entries, including a completed application form and four copies of an unpublished original poem in the Maltese language, not exceeding 36 verses in length, are to be sent by post to the National Book Council, Kumpless Bice Mizzi Vassallo, Triq Arnhem, Pembroke PBK 1776.

Entries should reach the National Book Council offices by the application period deadline of Monday 7 August 2023 at 12.00pm (noon). Please also submit a copy poem via the online application form – submissions for the 2023 National Poetry Contest are now closed.

All applicants are encouraged to read the rules carefully before making their submission.


First prize: Therese Pace for Fuq l-Aġenda tal-Għajn ta’ Doreen
Second prize: Jasmine Bajada for Mużew tal-Istorja Naturali, l-Imdina
Third prize: Miriam Calleja for Kamra Żgħira, Xi Mkien


Rena Balzan
Norbert Bugeja
Glen Calleja


First prize: Carmel Scicluna for Submersi Filii
Second prize: Ritianne Frendo for Mas-Sikta tal-Ħarifa
Third prize: Jonathan Balzan for Hawala


Dr Josette Attard
Prof. Carmel Borg
Karl Schembri


First prize: Klara Vassallo for Dokumentazzjoni tal-minuti mnikkra fik
Second prize: Louis Briffa for Tgħix Irridek
Third prize: Jesmond Sharples for F’Posti


Dr. Immanuel Mifsud
Nadia Mifsud
John Aquilina


First prize: Nadia Mifsud for ‘Varjazzjonijiet tas-Skiet’
Second prize: Louis Briffa for ‘NES Qaqqari’
Third prize: Ritianne Frendo for ‘Preludju mħarbat’


Dr. Claudine Borg
Prof. Charles Briffa
Antoine Cassar