Poetry contest

Announcement of the winners of the 2021 Doreen Micallef National Poetry Competition



The winners of the Doreen Micallef National Poetry Competition 2021 were announced on the evening of Friday 5th November during a ceremony at the Malta Book Festival hosted by Claudia Gauci.

Of the 50 eligible submissions submitted for this year’s competition, Carmel Scicluna’s poem ‘Submersi Filii’ won first prize with a €1,000 reward. The jury for this third edition was made up of Dr Josette Attard, Pr Carmel Borg and Karl Schembri.

Carmel Scicluna is the author of 13 publications, including a number of short story collections and young adult novels. He is the author of two collections of poetry, Il-Kalċi Qiegħed Ifur (2017) and L-Ambjent li Qeridna (2020), currently in the running for the 2021 National Book Award. Reviewers praised Scicluna’s poem about the loss of a child for strongly “capturing the grief of tragedy and the resulting emptiness in a language clear, direct and personal”.

The second prize was awarded to Ritianne Frendo with the poem “Mas-Sikta tal-Ħarifa” and the third prize to Jonathan Balzan for his poem “Hawala”.

The Executive Chairman of the National Book Council, Mark Camilleri, noted the strong participation in the competition from emerging writers, which speaks to the vitality of literature in Malta, literature that reflects contemporary life and leaves a lasting impact on we. Camilleri congratulated the winners and all participants and encouraged them to keep writing while thanking the evaluators for their contribution. He added that his mission for the coming years is also to nurture the Doreen Micallef National Poetry Competition towards future growth.

The Doreen Micallef National Poetry Competition is an annual competition open to poets of all ages that rewards a single original, unpublished poem in the Maltese language of no more than 36 lines, through an anonymous judging process. The call for applications opened in June 2021.

The Conseil National du Livre thanks all those who submitted poems for the Competition and the members of the jury for their work. The next edition of the Doreen Micallef National Poetry Competition opens in June 2022.