The Malta Book Festival had its official opening today at 7 pm with the awards ceremony for the Terramaxka Prize 2019, led by Daniel Chircop and Chrysander Agius. The ceremony, presided by the Executive Chairman of the National Book Council Mark Camilleri, took place at the Mediterranean Conference Centre, Valletta.

In his opening speech, Camilleri stressed the importance of a book sector that continues to grow, also thanks to the Malta Book Festival. In this respect, the National Book Council has striven to provide a commercial boost to the industry through the Festival, increasing its attendance figures and strengthening its international dimension with the participation of guest authors. In closing Camilleri thanked the Ministry of Education for recognising the important role of the book for the cultural development of society, and of a healthy book industry to sustain it.

The event was followed by a reading by Reading Ambassador Ira Losco from Jissokta l-Każ ta’ Saver u Ludmilla De Molizz, the winning entry in the category of books for children aged 8–12 of the Terramaxka Prize 2018. The winners were then announced in order of categories, starting from the youngest age category, 0-7, up to the eldest, 13 -16, for both original works and translated books.

Following the awards ceremony, the Minister for Education and Employment Evarist Bartolo addressed the particular relevance of literature and the humanities in a world primarily occupied with economic and technological concerns. Literature and reading are a reminder of what it is to be human, and especially in a small country like Malta, the state has an added responsibility to keep investing in the sector and its writers.

The winners are listed hereunder:

Category: original works (0-7)

Clare Azzopardi, Il-Ħanut tal-Ħelu Li Mar Dawra (Merlin Publishers, illustrated by Matt Stroud)

Category: original works (8-12)

John A. Bonello, Irvin Vella: Investigatur Virtwali: Il-Każ tal-Gżejjer tat-Teżor (Merlin Publishers)

Category: original works (13-16)

Antoinette Borg, Amina (Merlin Publishers) 

Category: translated works (0-7)

Rachel Portelli, L-Annimali tas-Savana: Il Verità Kollha fuq l-Annimali, traduzzjoni tal-ktieb Les animaux de la savane ta’ éditions Auzou u illustrat minn Anne Passchier (Merlin Publishers)

Category: translated works (8-12)

Dwayne Ellul, Missjoni: Insalvaw il-Pjaneta l-Blu, tradott mill-ktieb Mission: Save the Planet ta’ Helena Harastová, Štěpánka Sekaninová u illustrat minn Jakub Cenkl  (Merlin Publishers)

Category: prize for the best book production

Rita Saliba u Moira Scicluna Zahra (illustratriċi), Lorella u l-Ġenju Li ma Kienx Jaf Jaqra (BDL Publishing)

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