The National Book Prize and Terramaxka Prize shortlist is selected by an independent adjudication board and serves as guide to standout books published in Malta during the previous year. All shortlisted books can be found in bookstores, publishers’ online shops and will be available at the upcoming 2021 Malta Book Festival (3–7 November) to be held at the Malta Fairs & Conventions Centre (MFCC), Ta’ Qali.
The 2021 shortlist includes 62 titles out of 154 longlisted works; 46 books have been shortlisted across seven National Book Prize categories, and 16 books for children and adolescents have been shortlisted in four Terramaxka Prize categories. As of this year’s edition, the Translation category has been broadened to include works of non-fiction, poetry and drama in Maltese translation, as well as works of fiction, while the Poetry category is once again considering poetry collections written in either Maltese or English.
The National Book Prize recognises works of literature and research in a number of categories including Novels, Literary non-fiction, Translations and Poetry and Short Story collections, the latter of which this year presents a particularly noteworthy set of titles by well established authors such as Trevor Żahra and Joe Friggieri, alongside collections by Rita Saliba, Joe Camilleri and EUPL and 2020 Best Emergent Author prize winner Lara Calleja. Reinforcing a trend over the past years, the categories for General Research, and Biographical and Historiographic Research feature the greatest number of shortlisted works with a list of accomplished titles covering a wide range of Melitensia subjects and beyond. No works have been shortlisted in the Original Works for Adolescents (ages 13-16) category within the Terramaxka Prize, while the categories for Books translated into Maltese (ages 13-16), and Drama, received no submissions.
The adjudication process was first launched in May 2021 with the publication of the National Book Prize longlist – the shortlist was delivered to the NBC by the adjudication board on 26 July.
The adjudication board will be selecting the winners in each category of the National Book Prize and the Terramaxka Prize for children’s literature ahead of the Terramaxka Prize winners announcement on Tuesday 2 November during the official opening of the 2021 Malta Book Festival. The winners of the 2021 National Book Prize will be announced at an awards ceremony later in December.