Annual Performance Poetry and Quiz Competitions Return for 2017

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Dubai, 11 October, 2016: The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature’s popular interactive competitions for school-children are back. The Readers’ Cup and Qasidah par Coeur competitions give students the chance to put their reading and performance poetry skills to the test. Last year 300 teams battled it out at the Readers’ Cup, while 190 students delighted audiences during the Qasidah par Coeur contest.

‘We are thrilled with the success of our student competitions, which are now annual fixtures on the school calendar,’ said Isobel Abulhoul, OBE, CEO and Trustee of the Emirates Literature Foundation and Director of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature. ‘It’s been especially exciting to see the huge increase in entries, not only from the UAE, but also from schools across the Gulf region. Giving children the opportunity to actively participate in the Festival through these competitions brings a whole new dimension to their enjoyment of literature. Their enthusiasm is infectious and the hotly contested finals are some of the highlights each year.’

The competition finals will take place during the ninth annual Festival, which runs from 3-11 March, 2017. March is also the UAE Month of Reading as part of the National Reading Law declared by His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the President of the UAE.

The Festival’s two student writing competitions, the Oxford University Press Story Writing Competition and the Taaleem Award, were launched in May and are already attracting high quality entries. Their deadline for entries is 20 November. The Festival’s student competitions are supported by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA).

First-time novelists can register for the Montegrappa Writing Prize, which is open for entries. Five previous winners and runners-up now have international publishing deals.

Readers’ Cup

1 Place_ Sec - Chevron Readers' Cup

The Readers’ Cup, now in its fifth year, is always eagerly anticipated by schools and students. The inter-school competition is divided into two age categories – Primary Schools (up to age 11) and Secondary Schools (ages 12-16). Teams are provided with a list of books by 2017 Festival authors on which the quiz questions are based. The teams go through two elimination rounds before the top eight advance to the final, competing for first place in a live ‘read off’ held at the Festival.

Registrations for teams must be completed by 18 October. The list of books for all categories will be uploaded by 19 October at

Qasidah par Coeur Competiton


The Qasidah par Coeur performance poetry competition is one of the high points of the Festival, with the number of exceptional participants from across the region growing each year. The two age group categories, 8-13 and 14-18, require students to perform a poem in Arabic and/or English.

Competitors complete several rounds – internal school qualifiers, inter-school semifinals and the grand finals, which will be held during the Festival. Registration for the competition is open online till 19 January, 2017 at

More information about the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature can be found online. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube for competitions and updates.