In 2021, the National Book Council is again managing funding opportunities and contest prizes across a number of initiatives aimed at bolstering the presence of Maltese literature and book culture in Malta. Funds including the recently revamped Malta Book Fund and the biennial Feature Film Adaptation Fund provide writers, translators and filmmakers with the necessary support to bring quality projects to fruition. In addition, national literary contests for poetry, literature for youth and the prestigious National Book Prize provide deserved recognition to works of literature and research which enrich our understanding of ourselves and the world around us, as well as our literary heritage.

With these funding programmes and initiatives the Council continues to implement its vision for a healthy and growing book industry. They have the aim of serving the creative and economic interests of all stakeholders by investing in, and promoting, local publications with ever-growing readerships.

Here are the key dates concerning the major National Book Council funds and contests in 2021:

The National Book Prize is the highest literary prize in Malta assigned to authors, publishers and illustrators for work published locally during the preceding year. The shortlisted titles and the winning titles in the eight competitive categories of the National Book Prize for Adults and the six categories of the Terramaxka Prize – the National Book Prize for Children and Adolescents – are selected by an independent adjudication board which evaluate titles according to a set of criteria ensuring the highest degree of transparency and fairness.

Key dates: Applications for the 2021 National Book Prize, books published in 2020, can be submitted between 8 March – 26 April 2021 at 12 noon. The announcement of the Prize winners will take place in December 2021.

The Malta Book Fund is aimed at fostering cultural growth in local publishing by supporting quality publications of high cultural and educational value that face challenges in a small market. The MBF provides a means to support authors, translators and publishers in the pursuit of new ambitious projects and initiatives, while incentivising professionalism and innovation in the field.

The Malta Book Fund 2021 has an annual budget of €105,000 across two grant categories: Publication Grants: €50,000, and Translation Grants: €40,000 for the translation of Maltese works to any other language, and €15,000 the translation of works from any other language into Maltese. Grants awarded may support up to 100% of the proposed project up to a maximum of €5,000.

Key dates: The 2021 call for the Malta Book Fund opens for applications from 12 April – 30 June 2021. The order of classification of applications submitted will be published in July 2021.

The National Book Council Film Adaptation Fund is a biennial programme established with the objective to further promote Maltese literary works by supporting the production of a feature film adaptation of National Book Prize winning or shortlisted novel. The fund seeks to address all stages of development and production of one winning project with a maximum financial allocation of €200,000 and is awarded according to the decision of an independent evaluation panel.

Key dates:  The National Book Council Film Adaptation Fund 2021 is open for applications between 17 May and 30 August 2021. The results will be announced during the Malta Book Festival 2021 (10-14 November).

The Doreen Micallef National Poetry Contest is the most prestigious prize for a single poem contest in Maltese. It was established in 2019 with the aim of further raising the profile of poetry in Malta and celebrate the best poetry written in the Maltese language. The annual contest is open to poets of all ages and awards a single original and unpublished poem in the Maltese language of no longer than 36 lines, through an anonymised and independent adjudication process which looks for authenticity, imagination, distinctiveness of voice, and original use of rhythm and figures of speech.

Key dates: The 2021 Doreen Micallef National Poetry Contest will receive submissions between 14 June – 23 August 2021. Contest winners will be announced and awarded their prize at an official ceremony during the 2021 Malta Book Festival (10-14 November).

For all updates concerning National Book Council initiatives follow our website and the NBC Facebook page.

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