Aġenzija Żgħażagħ together with the National Book Council have launched the new edition of the Novels for Youth Literary Contest (Il-Konkors ta’ Letteratura għaż-Żgħażagħ), which will be accepting submissions between 24 January 2023 and 1 September 2023.

The official launch, which took place in November during the 2022 Malta Book Festival, saw the signing of the agreement between the CEO of Aġenzija Żgħażagħ (AŻ), Miriam Teuma, and the Executive Chairperson of the National Book Council (NBC), Mark Camilleri. During the event, the winner of the latest edition of this literary contest, Lon Kirkop, spoke of his novel Mitt Elf Isem Ieħor: HappyVeganGirlJules. He also spoke of the gap in young adult literature, and the importance of producing literature which can truly relate to young adults, speaking their language, and therefore encouraging them to read more and more, accompanying them into adult life.

This annual literary contest aims to enhance Maltese literature and offer a broader selection of innovative, exciting and non-didactic literature for young people in the local market. The contest, open to those above 20 years of age, will give authors the opportunity to explore themes related to youths and typical situations encountered by youths in this stage of their lives.

Through this initiative the entities joined forces in renewing their collaboration with the goal to gradually increase the availability of Maltese literature in this genre, thus sparking young people’s interest and motivation to read books written in Maltese. The organisers aspire to promote excellence by awarding works of a high literary content not only through financial remuneration, but also by supporting the publication of the winning manuscript by a publishing house of the winner’s choice. The winner is asked to pitch their work to their preferred publisher and negotiating the details of a publishing contract, which is an integral part of the process.

The contest is judged anonymously by three adjudicators appointed by the National Book Council. These select the winning entry according to four established criteria – development of plot and characters, originality, language and quality. 

Who can apply?

Eligible applicants may be individuals or groups of individuals of at least 20 years of age.

For the application to be considered eligible, the submitted manuscript must have never been previously published in whole or in part.

Applicants are encouraged to read the guidelines carefully before applying.

How to apply

Submissions should be made by post in one envelope including 4 copies of the of an original manuscript in Maltese of between 20,000 and 25,000 words signed only under a pseudonym and printed on A4 paper, together with the completed and signed application form including all details (name of the novel, pseudonym, name and surname, address, telephone / mobile number and e-mail address) and 4 copies of a synopsis of a maximum of 500 words.

Should you be interested in writing the next Novel for Youth of the year, have a look at the guidelines delineating the application process and evaluation criteria of the contest, which can be found here or on the Aġenzija Żgħażagħ website.

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