Allied Publications won three National Book Prize awards for 2009 releases.

Il-Qari Tal-Letteratura Bejn Esperjenza U Kritika by Terence Portelli placed first in the Non-Fiction Prose textbooks category.

Exploring The Maltese Media Landscape by Joseph Borg, Mary Ann Lauri and Adrian Hillman placed second in the General Research in Maltese and English category.

Allied placed first in the Special Prize for Translations in Maltese or Another Language category with Charles Abela Mizzi’s Il-Politika Tal-Persważjoni by the late Guido de Marco. These memoirs display the infectious sense of nationalism that inspired Maltese prominent figures.

Alex Vella Gera’s controversial self-published Żewġ, tied with Chris Gruppetta’s 45 for second place in the Literary Prose (Novels and Short Stories in Maltese) category.

Merlin Library Ltd shelved six out of the 28 prizes, including first place in the Literary Prose category with Qed Nistennik Nieżla Max-Xita by Pierre J Mejlak; the Prose for Children category with Clare Azzopardi’s Il-Każ Kważi Kollu Tal-Aħwa De Molizz; and the Prose for Adolescents category with Il-Ġnien Tad-Dmugħ by Simon Bartolo and Loranne Vella.

Klabb Kotba Maltin won three prizes, placing first in the Poetry in Another Language category with Poesie, Poems, Poeżija, by J. J. Cremona.

Alfred Palma was awarded the Special Lifetime Achievement prize for his contribution in the literature and publication fields.

Each year, the Education Ministry gives €23,000 worth of prizes to authors and publishers.

The ceremony was held on Thursday at the Auberge de Castille in Valletta under the patronage of Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi who commended the work of the publishers, authors, designers and artists among others. He said books were a means through which heritage could be passed on to future generations.

Apart from the national and seven regional libraries, there were 38 local libraries spread across the island. The government, Dr Gonzi added, invested in 10,000 new books in 2010 when the number of people making use of library services increased by 12 per cent to 7,000.

Future projects included facilities for people with a disability focusing especially on blind and dyslexic people.

Education Minister Dolores Cristina said €100,000 had been invested in books for the second consecutive year, adding it was her duty to support the publication sector’s positive energy.

The National Book Council, which organises the awards, will publish the results of a readership survey in the coming weeks.

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