The winners of the 2021 Doreen Micallef National Poetry Contest were announced on the evening of Friday 5 November during a ceremony at the Malta Book Festival presented by Claudia Gauci.

Out of the 50 eligible submissions entered for this year’s contest, Carmel Scicluna’s poem ‘Submersi Filii’ has been awarded the first prize with an award of €1,000. The jury for this third edition were Dr Josette Attard, Prof. Carmel Borg and Karl Schembri.

Carmel Scicluna is the author of 13 publications including a number of short-story collections and young adult novels. He has authored two poetry collections, Il-Kalċi Qiegħed Ifur (2017) and L-Ambjent li Qeridna (2020), currently shortlisted for the 2021 National Book Prize. The evaluators commended Scicluna’s poem about the loss of a child for strongly “capturing the grief of the tragedy and ensuing void in a clear, direct and personal language.”

The second prize was awarded to Ritianne Frendo with the poem ‘Mas-Sikta tal-Ħarifa’ and the third prize went to Jonathan Balzan for his poem ‘Hawala’.

The National Book Council Executive Chairman Mark Camilleri noted the significant participation in the Contest by emergent writers which is testimony to the vitality of literature in Malta, a literature which reflects contemporary life and that which leaves a lasting impact on us. Camilleri congratulated the winners and all participants and encouraged them to keep writing while thanking the evaluators for their contribution. He added that his mission for the coming years is also to nurture the Doreen Micallef National Poetry Contest towards further growth.

The Doreen Micallef National Poetry Contest is an annual contest open to poets of all ages which awards a single original and unpublished poem in the Maltese language of no longer than 36 lines, in an anonymised judging process. The call for submissions opened in June 2021.

The National Book Council thanks all those who submitted poems for the Contest and the members of the jury for their work. The next edition of the Doreen Micallef National Poetry Contest opens in June 2022.

The full results and the winning poems have been published here.

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

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