In so doing, the organizers of this festival aspire to instigate a gradual rise in the number of novels which generate interest and motivation in Maltese literature in young adolescents. The festival organizers seek a high quality in the literary value of the manuscripts submitted.
The results of the 2020 edition of the Contest have been announced on the evening of Tuesday 12 January during an award ceremony held at the Aġenzija Żgħażagħ Youth Village in Sta Venera. As the winner of the 2020 Contest, author Marlon Chircop was presented with a trophy by Minister Julia Farrugia and Parliamentary Secretary Clifton Grima and was also awarded a €1,000 cash prize. A €2,000 subsidy towards the publication of the winning manuscript Mitt Elf Isem Ieħor will be offered to the author following the signing of a publication agreement with a local publisher of his choice.
During their speech, the organizers pointed out they aspire at promoting excellence by awarding works of a high literary content. Additional rationales behind this competition include raising awareness about youth literature and for authors to submit original novels for youth which are innovative and non-didactic or moralising in nature. As a result, young people will benefit from an increase in the available number of books targeted for their age group, which will stimulate them to embark on new and exciting reading experiences.
The National Book Council thanked the 2020 Contest independent board of adjudicators Dr Josette Attard, John A. Bonello and Kevin Saliba for their work. They selected the winning entry out of six entries submitted in 2020 according to a set of established criteria: development of plot and characters, originality, language and quality.
During the press conference which followed the award ceremony, Aġenzija Żgħażagħ and the National Book Council officially renewed their collaboration and launched the 2021 edition of the Contest. Authors are thus being hereby invited to submit their original manuscripts aimed at young people aged 13 to 15 years old for consideration. Applicants can be individuals or groups of authors submitting – since the contest is judged anonymously, works should be signed only by a nom de plume.