Alex Vella Gera wins book prize, despite snubbing ceremony in protest at Castille

Author Alex Vella Gera wins book prize for 'Trojan', despite snubbing ceremony at Castille in protest at 'long list of atrocities that cling to the government's shoes like dog droppings' 

Alex Vella Gera: Photo: Ray Attard
Alex Vella Gera: Photo: Ray Attard

Author Alex Vella Gera’s novel ‘Trojan’ has won the National Book Prize for the best novel of the year, during a ceremony at Castille that he had snubbed in protest at the government’s scandals.

Ahead of the ceremony, Vella Gera posted a picture on Facebook of the torn up invitation and said that holding the award ceremony at the seat of government made Maltese literature complicit with power.

“I have nothing against the Book Council but against the present government and the long list of atrocities that cling to its shoes like dog droppings,” he said. “Wiping one’s heels is not enough to remove the filthy. The smell remains and can be smelled all over Malta…Nothing less than the whole shoe must be changed.

“Participating in this ceremony as a guest would be hypocrisy.”

Elsewhere, Trevor Zahra’s ‘Vespri’, a book of short stories that tackle existential dilemmas on reality, love and death, was named best collection of short stories of the year, while Nadia Mifsud won the best poetry book of the year award with ‘Kantuniera ‘l Boghod’.


Full list of prizes

Best collection of short stories: Trevor Zahra – ‘Vespri’

Best novel: Alex Vella Gera: ‘Trojan’

Best poetry book: Nadia Mifsud: ‘Kantuniera l’ Boghod’

Best traditional book: Edmund Teuma: ‘L-Iljieli Gharbin’

Best general research book: Gerald Bugeja: ‘Antonio Sciortino: The Lost Album’

Best historical research book: Keith Sciberras: ‘Caravaggio to Mattia Preti: Baroque Painting in Malta’ and George Pisani: ‘The Battle of Lepanto: An Unpublished Hospitalier Account’

Best book production: BirdLife Malta: ‘History of Ornithology in Malta’

Special poetry nomination: Victor Fenech: ‘Doreen Micallef: il-Poeziji, il-Konferenza’

Emerging talent award: Leanne Ellul

Lifetime literary award: Mario Azzopardi