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29 February 2024

New Award to recognise Emirati female poets

By Wam

Coinciding with the celebrations of Emirati Women’s Day, the Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development, MCKD, and Khalaf Al Habtoor, Founding Chairman of Al Habtoor Group, today launched an award for Nabati poetry, which will recognise the role of Emirati women in the UAE’s cultural and literary scene.

Nabati poetry has a long heritage in the Arabian peninsula and is known as 'the people's poetry' or 'Bedouin poetry', and reflects the reality of everyday life.

Named in honour of renowned Emirati poet, the late Osha Bint Khalifa Alsuwaidi, the award aims to celebrate poetry and literature in the Arab world and acknowledge the role of Emirati women in the field.

The Osha Award will be held annually under the supervision of the Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development.

Commenting on the announcement, Noura Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, said, "With this esteemed award, we not only celebrate the legacy of the late Osha bint Khalifa Alsuwaidi, an Emirati symbol of talent, wisdom, and literature, but we also aim to inspire the youth to follow in her footsteps. As part of our efforts to preserve and safeguard Emirati heritage, we are invested in reviving interest in the Emirati vernacular and poetic expression, especially with younger generations."

Al Kaabi noted that the Award will serve as a valuable platform to shed light on Alsuwaidi’s life and work as an exemplary Emirati woman who valued creativity and tradition. The Award will be an integral factor in discovering and supporting new poetic talent, providing an opportunity for upcoming poets to hone their skills in the literary field.

In turn, Khalaf Al Habtoor, Founding Chairman of Al Habtoor Group, stated, "The UAE’s history is enriched by great and influential women who have impacted our Emirati community, culture, and society as a whole. The late Osha bint Khalifa Alsuwaidi is such a woman, and as a literary icon of Nabati poetry whose work provided enlightenment for our nation."

The late Alsuwaidi’s mastery of the Nabati verse, a form of vernacular poetry, and her prolific writing that dealt with national and pan-Arab issues earned her the title of Fatat Al Arab, which translates to Girl of the Arabs, as an influential and inspirational symbol in Arab culture.

Alsuwaidi actively engaged in poetry contests with some of the UAE’s greatest poets, including the late Founding Father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai.