he National Book Prize (NBP) is the highest literary prize awarded to authors, publishers and illustrators for works published locally during the preceding year.
The National Book Prize 2019 awards ceremony, for books published in 2018, will be held on Monday 9 December at Auberge de Castille under the patronage of the Prime Minister of Malta. Winning authors together with the publishers of the winning books will be invited to receive their prize during the private ceremony.
In total, 34 books have made National Book Prize shortlist across seven of the eight Prize categories: Novels in Maltese and English, Short Stories in Maltese and English, Poetry in Maltese and English, Translation, General Research and Biographical and Historiographical Research and Literary Non-Fiction – new to this year’s edition. No submissions have been received in the Drama category. An independent board, appointed specifically and solely for the purpose of adjudicating the Prize, has evaluated the submissions according to a set of criteria. These, along with the Prize regulations, can be downloaded here.
The history of the National Book Prize dates back to 1971. The Terramaxka Prize for books for children and adolescents also forms part of the National Book Prize, but the awards ceremony takes place during a private ceremony coinciding with the opening of the Malta Book Festival. This year it was held on Tuesday 5 November at the Mediterranean Conference Centre. The National Book Prize is more adult-oriented with its eight categories. In addition to these and to the prestigious Lifetime Achievement and the Best Emergent Writer Awards, starting this year a Poet Laureate Award could be bestowed upon the writer who, if announced the recipient of the National Book Prize for poetry, would have previously won any other past National Book Prize edition. A Best Book Production Award will also be bestowed upon the best designed book published in 2018.
A significant development this year round is the monetary value of each Prize. All winners in each category of the National Book Prize shall be awarded the sum of €4,000 instead of €1,000 awarded until last year. The same applies for the Best Emergent Writer and Poet Laureate Awards.
This year the categories of General Research, and the Biographical and Historiographical Research carry a significant number of shortlisted titles, as does the category of Short Stories in Maltese and English. Only three titles have been shortlisted for the category of Novels in Maltese and English, and two for the Poetry category. Four finalists have made it to the Translations category, and two titles have been shortlisted for the category of Literary Non-Fiction.