Winners of Fourth Qasidah par Coeur Performance Poetry Competition Declared During UAE 2017 Month of Reading

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Dubai, 9 March, 2017: Students from across the UAE participated in the finals of the fourth annual Qasidah par Coeur Performance Poetry Competition at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, with a winner in each language declared after an intense judging session. This year’s competition more than 450 saw students from around the region enter the popular competition, the highest number of entries yet for the contest.

Divided into two age categories of 8-13 and 14-18 age groups, the participants performed their own choice of poems, while those in the 14-18 age category were also required to give a short 50-word explanation on their choice of poem. Three rounds were conducted with 472 students participating in the inter-school rounds, before the top performers in each age category progressed to the semi-finals stage and then competed in the finals at the Festival.

This year, the final of the Arabic competition was judged by 2017 Festival participants, Syrian author and poet Adnan Alaoda and folk poet Zainab Ibrahim AlBlooshi, while the English competition judges of the finals were Lebanese poet Zeina Hashem Beck and New York-based poet Amanda Calderon. Students were assessed on the interpretation of their chosen poems as well as their performances.

Isobel Abulhoul, OBE, CEO and Trustee of the Emirates Literature Foundation and Director of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature said of the competition: ‘The Qasidah par Coeur competition continues to be a highlight at the Festival. It is such a wonderful celebration of the Arabic tradition of oral narration. The performances continue to be enchanting and an incredible way for youngsters to connect with the poetry they read at home and at school. What better way to entice new audiences to books than to perform the written word aloud? In my mind, this is just the perfect way to promote reading during the UAE Month of Reading.’

8-13 Age Group

Best English Poetry Performance

Yousif Sohaib

14-18 Age Group

Best English Poetry Performance

Omar Ashraf

The Festival continues till 11 March with more sessions, panels and workshops for all age groups.

Ticket prices start at AED 40 and many children’s events and activities are available free of charge. Tickets can be purchased on the Festival website ( or via the ELF Dubai app, available on the iOS and Google Play app stores and at Magrudy’s outlets around the UAE. Become a Foundation Friend and enjoy benefits throughout the year, including priority booking on Festival tickets, as well as exclusive discounts at selected Emirates Literature Foundation events and workshops and retail outlets in the UAE.

More information about the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature can be found online. Fans can keep up to date with #DubaiLitFest action on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube and year-round news of #ELFDubai on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.