Sharjah: His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, on Monday evening attended the inauguration of the 19th Sharjah Arabic Poetry Festival, which is being organised by the Sharjah Department of Culture.
The opening ceremony, held at the Sharjah Cultural Palace, featured a film about the House of Poetry’s 25-year journey in Sharjah, which was full of cultural and poetic achievements, and a presentation about Sharjah’s role in caring for poetry in the Arab world through poetry houses and poetry festivals, as well as celebrating and honouring poets.
The 11th Sharjah Award for Arabic Poetry winners, Sheikha Abdullah Al-Mutairi of the UAE and Hassan Al-Zahrani of Saudi Arabia, were then honoured by His Highness who also presented awards to the winners of the second session of the Sharjah Award for Arab Poetry Criticism.
The first place went to Dr Fathi Al-Sharmani, second place went to Dr Muhammad Al-Tahnawi of Morocco, and third to Dr Abdul Rahim Wahbi.
Poets Hassan Al-Zahrani of Saudi Arabia, Sheikha Abdullah Al-Mutairi of the Emirates, and Alaa Janib of Egypt gave the festival’s first poetry readings, in which they praised His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah’s cultural, poetic, and literary efforts and initiatives, for which intellectuals, poets, and writers receive care, attention, appreciation, and support.
According to the chairman of the Department of Culture, the festival will include seven poetry evenings and a morning poetry session at the Dr Sultan Al Qasimi Centre. In addition to the signings and the symposium, this session will also showcase six books published by the Sharjah Department of Culture. The poetry evening at the Khorfakkan Literary Council will relocate to Khorfakkan with the topic “Poetry Between Expression and Influence”. A daily newsletter named Arabs Poetry Canon will be released to provide in-depth and varied media coverage of the festival.
Besides the Ruler of Sharjah, the opening ceremony was attended by Major General Saif Al Zari Al Shamsi, Commander-in-Chief of Sharjah Police, Abdullah Mohammed Al Owais, Chairman of the Sharjah Department of Culture and Information; Khaled Jassim Al Midfa, Chairman of the Commerce and Tourism Development Authority; Mohammed Obaid Al Zaabi, Head of the Protocol and Hospitality Department, and Salem Yousef Al Qaseer, Chairman of the Labour Standards Development Authority; a number of senior officials; and a gathering of writers, intellectuals, poets and poetry connoisseurs.