Go to the top
featured image

Qasidah Par Coeur Competition

Share on LinkedIn

The 2017 Qasidah Par Coeur Competition is now closed.

The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature is delighted to invite students to the Qasidah par Coeur performance poetry competition. For this competition, students learn poetry by heart and give an emotional response to the language and ideas of the poet. This follows the strong oral tradition which exists in the Arab world and similar competitions which take place around the world.

What are the aims of this competition?

  •  To encourage students to enjoy and understand poetry
  • For students to recite selected poems in a way that demonstrates understanding and response
  • For students to justify their choice in a personal and coherent way
  • To give students a chance to excel in performance through an understanding of the power of spoken poetic language

Who can enter?

Schools and other groups
Open to students from Years 4 – 8 (ages 8 – 13) and Years 9 and above (ages 14-18)

What is the prize?

The winners will be honoured at the Festival and will receive a trophy.

How does it work?

Students will recite their chosen poems, which can be in Arabic and/ or English (see below); students in the 14-18 age category will also be required to give a personal justification for their choice of poetry. Schools wishing to enter students in the Arabic competition should register here, while those entering in English should use the form below.

Students can participate in each language category (i.e. students can perform in Arabic as well as English). For the Arabic language option, students will select a poem from our Nabati anthology or from our classical anthology, which are available here. For the English language option, students can select a poem from any work published by a recognised publisher (not self-published). The poem should be 14 to 30 lines in length and should be submitted to the Festival for approval.

Students in Years 4-8 (ages 8-13) will perform ONE poem of their choice.

Students in Years 9 and above (ages 14-18) will perform ONE poem of their choice, plus a personal justification for their choice, both by heart (with no notes). The justification should be the student’s own work and not exceed 50 words.

All age groups

Having chosen the poems, the entrants proceed to:

Round 1: Internal within each school/ group

  • Judges – appointed by the school. Maximum of three.
  • Criteria for judging and a judges’ briefing are provided by the Festival and can be downloaded from this link: Judging Guidelines
  • A maximum of three students per age category should be selected to proceed to round two
  • Names of students and selected poems to be sent to Festival administrators by 19 January 2017

Round 2: Inter-school semi-final

  • Semi-final to take place on 5 and 6 February 2017
  • They will use the same poem from the in-school round
  • Judges appointed by the Festival

Round 3: Final round to be held at the Festival

  • The final will be held on 8 March 2017
  • Poets attending the Festival will be included among the judges
  • Entrants will not be required to learn a new poem

In the 8-13 age category, the following prizes will be awarded:

Best English Poetry Performance
Best Arabic Poetry Performance

Best Nabati Poetry Performance

In the 14-18 age category, the following prizes will be awarded:

Best English Poetry Performance
Best Arabic Poetry Performance
Best Nabati Poetry Performance

The Award Ceremony will take place at the Festival following the final round. The winners will be honoured at the Festival and will receive a trophy and books.

Please read carefully

By entering the competition, entrants agree to observe the terms and conditions of the Competition, which include permission for the Festival and the sponsor to publicise photographic images of the participating students in all stages of the competition in any promotional materials. Schools and students should be aware that they might need to obtain parental consent for this.

Judges’ decisions are final and no correspondence will be entered into with regard to these decisions.

Terms and Conditions of Entry

  • Entrants must be in full-time education, attending a school or organised group, and in the specified grades/ school year/ age group.
  • Schools and groups must register via the website and agree to conduct the first round by the specified date.
  • Winners of the internal school rounds must be available for the semi-final and final of the competitions, and be prepared to travel to Dubai.
  • Poems in Arabic must be selected from the anthologies provided by the Festival.
  • Internal judging should follow the criteria supplied by the Festival when the registration is complete.


Is the competition open to University students?
No. The competition is only open to the age groups and grades specified above: Years 4-8 (ages 8-13) and Years 9 and above (ages 14-18).

Why does a student have to justify their choice?
To ensure that they have thought about the poem and have appreciated it on a personal level.

Is it open to other Gulf countries?
Yes, but the entrants must travel to Dubai for the semi-finals and finals.

What language do the poems have to be in?
The poems can be in the following languages:
1)    English
2)    Arabic

When is the final date to let the Festival know the names, languages and selected poems of first round winners?
19 January 2017.

When are the semi-finals?
5 and 6 February 2017.

When is the final?
8 March 2017.


Enter Your Email