ABU DHABI // The Prince of Poets television contest will crown its winner tonight and make him Dh1 million (US$272,000) richer. Six finalists from Iraq, Jordan, Syria and Yemen emerged from a field of 35 contestants, which was drawn from 300 poets interviewed for the programme's third season. The competition features classical Arabic poetry and aims to uncover talent and hone the poetry skills of the young.
The Prince of Poets competition is held under the auspices of the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage. The show's 10th and final episode for the season runs from 10.30pm to 1.30am on Abu Dhabi TV. The finalists are Walid al Sarraf and Bassam Salih Mahdi from Iraq; Turki Abdul Ghani from Jordan; Hassan Baiti and Hikmat Hassan from Syria; and Mohammed al Sudi from Yemen. The winner will be chosen on the basis of the judges' evaluations and audience votes. Audience members will be able vote online or by SMS. Those attending the programme at Al Raha Beach Theatre will be able to vote on set.
More than 7,500 poems were submitted to the show, of which 1,000 were chosen as official entries. The judging committee interviewed 300 poets in May and selected 35 to compete. This season recorded the highest number of female contestants, but none of the six reached the final stage. The contest is named after the late Egyptian poet Ahmed Shawqi, whose peers gave him the title "Prince of Poets" in 1927.