The Okaz Poetry competition, which is being held this year as part of Taif Season, is entering its final stages, with the judging panel selecting the final 10 poets from 22 remaining contestants.
The competition’s official spokesman, Dr. Saud Al-Yousef, said that this year’s event had attracted interest from distinguished poets from different Arab countries, highlighting the award’s reputation and reflecting its important heritage, with the history of Souk Okaz going back 1,500 years.
Dr Al-Yousef praised the Kingdom’s efforts in supporting Arab culture, and said the award was one of the aspects of culture and literature that is being promoted at Souk Okaz. The Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage has worked with partners to develop and enrich the award this year, he added.
Secretary General of the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies, Dr. Saud Al-Sarha, noted that this year will see the competition televised for the first time, with viewers being able to see stages of the competition from August 18-20.
The total prize money for the competition is worth more than two million riyals, with poets having to have had at least one poem published to be eligible, while they were also required to attach a video clip of them delivering one of their own poems.
A total of 141 contestants from 18 countries met the entry requirements, with a number of others being excluded. Their three texts were evaluated according to technical level, subject selection, language, and delivery, with the judges whittling contestants down to 22 from 12 countries.
Poets are also evaluated on their total body of works, reading the poems chosen by the contestants for the competition, and delivering poems to the committee. Based on this assessment, 10 poets are nominated.
The final evaluation mechanism also includes writing a poem on a topic set by the committee and improvising verses om a topic chosen by the committee. Results will be announced at the Souk Okaz ceremony on Tuesday.
The jury includes three specialized critics: Dr. Saleh bin Ziad al-Ghamdi, professor of literary criticism at King Saud University in Saudi Arabia; Dr. Rachid Yahyaoui, Professor of Literature and Criticism at Agadir University in the Kingdom of Morocco;and Dr. Ali Bin Jaafar al-Allaq, a poet and academic from Iraq
These are the contenders for the award: Ibrahim bin Ahmed bin Mataan Haloush from Saudi Arabia, Dr. Hazem Mabrouk Attia Abu Zeid of the Republic of Egypt, Hassan bin Abdo bin Ali Samili from Saudi Arabia, Hassan al-Askari Yasser Mekdad of Lebanon, and Khaled Boudrev from Lebanon. Morocco, Shtiwi bin Azzam bin Shtei al-Ghithi al-Shammari from Saudi Arabia, Dr. Shafiqa and Ael from Algeria, Shaimaa Mohamed Hassan Ramadan Hassan from Egypt, Talal bin Salim bin Sarroukh al-Salati from Oman, Abdullah Mohammed Abdullah Obeid from Yemen, Abdullah bin Musa Bella from Burkina Faso, Aab Dallah Hadi Naji bin Naji from Yemen, Abla Ghassan Mohammed Khaled Jaber from Palestine, Qais Taha Mohammed Quqza from Jordan, Latifa Hassani from Algeria, Mubarak Sayed Ahmed Abdul Latif from Egypt, Mohammed bin Ibrahim bin Mohammed Yaacoub from Saudi Arabia, Mohammed Ahmed Hassan Salem from the Republic of Egypt, Mohammed Edum Ab from Mauritania, Mohamed Hamed Abdullah al-Ayaif from Jordan, Mohammed bin Saif bin Hamad al-Abari from Oman and Mona Hassan Mohammed al-Hajj from Sudan.