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Abu Dhabi Reveals the List of 42 Contestants for the Prince of Poets Competition

The Cultural Programs and Heritage Festivals Committee - Abu Dhabi revealed to the media the list of 42 contestants who were selected out of 150 poets to take part in the Prince of Poets competition, in its 7th season. Over 3 days, the various contestants were interviewed by the members of the Jury at Al Raha Beach Theatre in the Emirati capital, Abu Dhabi.  


The selection of the 42 contestants came following direct interviews that were characterised by an imagerial creativity, a linguistic splendour and an expressive beauty. The members of the jury, namely Dr. Ali Bin Tamim from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Dr. Salah Fadhl from Egypt and Dr. Abdul Malek Mortadh from Algeria, hailed the excellent artistic and creative capabilities of some participating contestants.


Before the selection of the contestants, the members of the jury held intensive meetings so as to assess the quality of the direct interviews and select the finest of the participating poets, according to meticulous aesthetic and critical criteria. The series of meetings were attended by Mr. Issa Seif Al Mazrouei, Director of the Department for Special Policies and Projects at the Committee, Mr. Sultan Al Amimi, Director of the Poetry Academy at the Committee, and the two members of the Advisory Committee at the Prince of Poets TV Programme, Dr. Ahmed Khurais, and Poet Raad Bandar.


Considered as one of the most prominent TV programmes in the Arab region, the Prince of Poets is inspired by the entrenched Arab heritage. It aims at restoring great works of Arab poetry and literature. The programme also seeks to revive the Arab cultural heritage while stimulating creative production on the contemporary poetry scene in the Arab region.


The 42 selected contestants come from 16 different countries. They are currently undertaking additional tests of merit that are more challenging and arduous. Following these tests, the members of the jury are expected to reveal the final list of 20 poets who will take part in the live episodes of the TV programme. Over the period of 10 weeks, the Prince of Poets programme will be broadcast on Abu Dhabi TV and Baynounah TV, starting from the 21st of February 2017. 


The list of the 42 contestants includes: Ali Khamis Al Abdan Al Shamesi from the UAE; from Jordan, Warda Saeed Al Katkout, Qais Qawqazah, Mahmoud Abu Ashour, Hani Abdul Jawad; from Bahrain Sayyed Ahmed Hashem; from Algeria Latifa Hassani, Emna Hazamoon, Rahmat Allah Ibraheem, Omar Mohammed Bakir, and Abdul Qader Mahdaoui; from Saudi Arabia Tareq Al Sumaili, and Iyad Abu Salah; from Iraq Khaled Abdul Rahman Hassan, Zaid Al Quraishi, Saad Jarjiss Al Jaburi, Aliyah Al Maliki, Omar Anaaz, and Efaa Amin Abdulqader; from Morocco Omar Al Rajehi, Adel Lotfi and Naoufel Al Saeedi; from Yemen Yahya Al Hamadi; from Iran Abdul Aziz Hamadi; from Tunisia Henda Bint El Hussein; from Oman Nasser Al Ghasseni and Khalil Al Jaberi; from Syria Maram Duraid Al Nissr, Ebaa Mustafa Al Khatib, Majed Al Ibraheem and Fatimah Mohammed Kareem; from Palestine Alaa Al Qatarawi, and Ablah Jaber; from Libya Saleh Al Sanoussi; from Egypt Mohammed Ali Abadi, Hassan Amer, Hajer Mohammed Omar, Omar Abdul Hadi Madhi, Waleed Al Khouli, and Saad Abdul Radhi; and from Mauritania Sheikhuna Omar Hydar and Mohammed Saadbuh Faly. 


Over 3 weeks, the recorded episodes of the TV programme will be broadcast starting from the 31st of January so as to give the audience an opportunity to watch the direct interviews with the various contestants. On the 21st of February, the broadcast of the live episodes will kick off, with the participation of 20 poets who represent the cream of the crop of all contestants.  


Over six seasons, the programme has revealed the talents of 165 gifted poets who are aged between 18 years old and 45 years old. The creative productions of these poets have been assembled and documented by the Academy in outstanding poetry collections.


Since 2007 and through 2016, six poets from six Arab countries - the UAE, Mauritania, Syria, Yemen, Egypt and Saudi Arabia- have won the title of the Prince of Poets. Over the years, the TV programme has managed to attract a large audience and secure a local, regional and international media coverage that has surpassed all expectations.


The terms and conditions for participation in the first stage stipulate that the contestant must present a classical Arabic poem, on any theme that the poet wishes to address.  The traditional classical poems ‘amudi’ (in column form) as well as free verse or taf’ila (metric) poems are accepted. Each poet is advised to send either one classical poem consisting of at least 20 lines and not exceeding 30 lines, or one taf’ila or free verse poem consisting of no more than two strophes, each containing a maximum of 15 lines. Prose poems are not allowed into the competition.


With the participation of hundreds of TV productions, the Prince of Poets received the Golden Award for the category of the “Best cultural TV Programme” at the Gulf Radio and TV Production Festival (2016) in Manama. The programme also received Al Owais Award for Creativity (2014) for the category of the “Best Local Cultural TV Programme”. In 2009, the Prince of Poets was awarded two prestigious prizes in the field of television production, both at the Arab and international levels. The programme was picked as the Best Creative Programme at the British A.I.B Festival. And it also received the Golden Award as the “Best TV Programme” at the Gulf Radio and TV Production Festival in Bahrain.


The Prince of Poets programme owes its success to the provided organisational and logistical resources, a well-devised media plan, and empirical studies that monitored individual reactions and public opinion in the Arab world. Thanks to the apt selection of a qualified jury, challenges have been overcome towards the support of beauty and creativity on the poetic scene.