Alfred Sant takes National Book Prize with ‘Western’

'Western: bejn rakkonti, bejn divertimenti' awarded first prize at the National Book Prize ceremony

Alfred Sant with his award winning Western collection
Alfred Sant with his award winning Western collection

Alfred Sant’s “Western: bejn rakkonti, bejn divertimenti” was awarded the first prize in the category Short Stories in Maltese and English of the 2017 National Book Prize on Thursday, during the award ceremony at the Auberge de Castille.

Western follows the adventures of the protagonist “il-Malti” (the Maltese) who ends up in Wyoming in the US in the late 1860s.

“Western is the product of lost of thought, sweat, hours spent over the text and I hope some inspiration. It deliberately dealt with a rather wide variety of themes, many of which I still need to explore better,” Labour MEP Alfred Sant said on his way back from the European Parliament.

The event was presented by Mark Laurence Zammit, with an opening address by the National Book Council executive chairman Mark Camilleri.

The awarded books were announced in their separate categories, ranging from general research to novels in Maltese and English.

The Lifetime Achievement Award for Contribution to Literature, awarded to Victor Fenech honoured his lifetime of literary work, contribution to literary scholarship, the education of local communities and the nurturing of the local literary culture.

The winner in the category Novels in Maltese and English, Lou Drofenik, won the prize with an English novel “The Confectioner’s Daughter”, published by Horizons.

Immanuel Mifsud won the first prize in poetry with his collection “Huta”, published by Klabb Kotba Maltin.

The event came to an end with a speech by prime minister Joseph Muscat, in which he praised the work by literary agents, including the National Book Council, publishers and the authors themselves. 

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