The Malta Independent 25 May 2020, Monday

What can I read next?

Tuesday, 24 March 2020, 09:57 Last update: about 2 months ago

If you are one of those who is viewing these days of quarantine an opportunity for you and your family to read more, read the following about the winning books of the National Book Prize 2019.

One of the more important initiatives of the National Book Council is the National Book Prize, the highest literary prize awarded to authors, publishers and illustrators for their work during the preceding year. The award serves first and foremost writers and publishers - as a stimulus to the former to further refine their writing, and as an incentive for the latter to support promising writers. The Prize is therefore a crucial foundation for the academic and literary scene in Malta.


The Prize is also there for the reader who's already thinking of the next book to pick up. The National Book Prize (including the Terramaxka Prize for children's and adolescents' literature) is an indicator of best literature published that year. The public can access the full list of shortlisted and winning titles throughout the years on our website at


Short stories

We introduce a new writer who debuted with a collection of short stories and won the first prize - Trevor Zahra, looks promising! Jokes aside, this is probably the most ambitious project by Zahra: 365 (Merlin Publishers) contains 365 historical narratives, reflections, anecdotes, and fables, one for each day of the year. It is recommended for those who enjoy reading something in the morning before starting their day. Whichever the genre, Zahra's book guarantees that your year is filled with dreams and memories.



The name of Maria Grech Ganado can't help but raise expectations. The poems in Framed (Merlin Publishers) are an expression of everyday life, and explore the complexities of family relationships, love, food, art, social phenomena and a thousand other things that we fail to appreciate in our hectic lives. This is a collection of poems, probably written through suffering, by a poet who deserves to be described as "one of the wisest female poets and among the best in Europe", as the poet and playwright Menna Wales Elfyn once said.


Literary non-fiction

This category was only launched last year and received a number of interesting titles. Among them, No Man's Land: People, Place & Pollution (Kite Group) written by Marie Briguglio and featuring cartoons by Steve Bonello. If you want your reading to engage with Malta's environmental challenges, then this is the book for you. Bonello's tragicomic cartoons illustrate the state of Malta's environment and public space over the past thirty years, coupled with Briguglio's meticulous  research on the the pressures laid on Malta's commons and its people by cars and the construction industry.



Antigona (Faraxa Publishing) is a translation by Toni Aquilina from the French original by Jean Anouilh. It was first published in France during the Occupation and immediately sparked a debate about its possible interpretations. The book is about the history of the young Antigona, who stands up against her uncle's rule, King Creon, and is eventually sentenced to death.


General research

An extremely valuable book for history buffs and enthusiasts. It professionally documents stories that would have lost to time were it not for the work of people like Steve Borg. Il-Maltin: għemilhom, drawwiethom, ġrajjiethom: Vol. 2 (Klabb Kotba Maltin) provides a snapshot of factual stories on specific topics and how they were woven into Maltese life in the first half of the twentieth century. Those recounting the stories create an intimate portrayal in the first person which touches the reader.


Historiographic and Biographical Research

The last in a series about the last twenty years of Malta as a British colony that reflects the development of Malta from a fortress colony in the Mediterranean, to a sovereign state - this is the book for which Professor Joseph M. Pirotta will be remembered. Fortress Colony: 1945-1964-the final Act (Vol IV) (Midsea Books) is a book held up by volumes of Maltese and British historical documents about all that had been happening behind the scenes during these important years for the nation and its people.

The National Book Council encourages you to also take a look at the works of those authors who have won special awards: Alfred Sant - winner of the Lifetime Achievement; Gioele Galea - awarded the Prize for Best Emerging Author; and Maria Grech Ganado - Poet Laureate.  Award winners; and Parallel Existences. The Notarial Archives: A Photographer's Inspiration (Kite Group), which won the Prize for Best Book Production.

This list of books is likely to spark some interest in you and be your next read. You can purchase the books online or you can contact the publishers, who have geared themselves and have put in place some fantastic offers on books - home delivery included.



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