Applications for the 2019 edition of National Book Prize and for the Terramaxka Prize – the National Book Prize for children and adolescents – are now open. As always, the call for applications is for books published the year before and are open to all local publications in English or Maltese, given the books fall under one of the accepted categories for both prizes.

The prizes award the authors of those publications that are judged to have high literary and cultural or academic merit, according to the criteria associated with the category.

Submissions are to reach the National Book Council by Tuesday, 16 April 2019 at noon, together with an application form and four copies of the submitted book or books. It is important that the applicant indicates the right category for each submission.

There is a total of eight categories for the National Book Prize for adults: Novel, Short Story, Poetry, Drama, Literary Non-Fiction, Translation, General Research, and Biographical and Historiographic Research. The six categories for the Terramaxka Prize for children and adolescents are three categories for original works for children and adolescents divided by age group (0–7, 8–12 and 13–16), and another three categories for translated works for children and adolescents, again one per age group.

A new category was added to the National Book Prize for adults this year: Literary Nonfiction. Literary Nonfiction is a type of prose that employs the literary techniques usually associated with fiction or poetry to report on persons, places and events in the real world. The genre of literary nonfiction is broad enough to include travel writing, nature writing, science writing, sports writing, biography, autobiography, memoir, the interview, and both the familiar and personal essay.

Another significant change in this edition of the National Book Prize is the increase in the prize value allocated to all categories in the Prize (excluding the Terramaxka categories of translation). The amount has risen from €1,000 to €4,000. As for the translation categories for the Terramaxka categories of translation, the amount has doubled from €1,000 to €2,000.

The Prize for the Best Emergent Writer was also increased from €2,000 to €4,000.

This year round, a new prize category was included in addition to the Lifetime Achievement Award and the Best emergent Writer Award. It’s the Poet Laureate Award, to be awarded to the writer who, being the recipient of the National Book Prize for poetry, has previously won any other National Book Prize Award. The winner shall be awarded with the title of Poet Laureate and a prize sum of €4,000. This will be paid in four equal instalments on a yearly basis on the condition that during that year the poet writes a substantial amount of poetry to be published as a single collection. 

One prize may be selected from each and every category, and no more than one prize is to be allocated to each category. It may happen that no winner is chosen for a given category if the required standard is not achieved by any of the entries in that category.  

An independent board, appointed specifically and solely for the purpose of adjudicating the Prize, will evaluate the submissions according to a set of criteria. These, along with the applications and regulations, can be downloaded here.

Applications, with four copies of the submitted books, must be sent by post or delivered by hand to Mr Michael Mercieca, by not later than noon of Tuesday, 16 April 2019, at the following address:

National Book Prize 2019

National Book Council

c/o Central Public Library

Professor Joseph J. Mangion Street

Floriana FRN 1800


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