Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Council, the Abu Dhabi Poetry Festival will take place from 12-15 October 2023 at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC), in cooperation with the Emirates Heritage Club. The festival is being organised by the Cultural Programs and Heritage Festivals Committee – Abu Dhabi.

More than 1,000 poets will attend the Abu Dhabi Poetry Festival alongside an esteemed group of local, regional and global intellectuals, authors and media professionals for the largest celebration of Arab poetry.

His Excellency Staff Major General Pilot Faris Khalaf Al Mazrouei, Abu Dhabi Police Commander-in-Chief, and Chairman of the Cultural Programs and Heritage Festivals Committee – Abu Dhabi, said: “The Abu Dhabi Poetry Festival comes in line with the dedicated cultural approach of the emirate of Abu Dhabi and its significant role in supporting culture-related and heritage-preservation initiatives, contributing to events taking place in the UAE".

“Abu Dhabi is widely recognised as a nurturing environment for poetry, creativity and talent. It is an enthusiastic supporter of the literary arts, contributing to the cultivation of literary creativity. The emirate is keen on fostering and nurturing intellectual awareness in the Arab world and enriching the Arab cultural scene. Most importantly, Abu Dhabi is devoted to preserving the poetic, literary, and cultural heritage of the UAE and Arabic-speaking countries".

“The festival showcases both forms of Arabic poetry, including Nabati and classical styles, with the aim of broadening the audience for poetry programmes and delving into various aspects of the poetic world. This includes discussions on art, studies, and recommendations associated with it, as well as the publication of unique experiences that provide insights into the future of poetry and its long-term sustainability.”

The festival seeks, through a range of styles such as Nabati and classical Arabic poetry, to broaden the audience base of poetic and cultural creativity, setting the scene to explore new creative poetic talents, highlighting arts and literature, and providing a true artistic platform that plays a great part in the sustainability and steady growth of poetry and literary arts.

The festival aims to support the cultural and literary movement in the Arab world, to refresh and invigorate the well-known and esteemed status of Arabic poetry, cultures, heritage and arts, as well as provide a platform where poets, writers, and literary figures can meet, connect and explore different poetic forms in an immersive and dynamic environment.

The festival offers an opportunity to young poets and writers to showcase their talent, meet established poets from around the world, understand the role of research in poetry and get to know new genres of poetry (eco-poetry for example), as well as delve into the secrets of Arabic poetry with its particular characteristics, the meters of rhythmical poetry, rhymes and verse measurements, in addition to the historical story-telling role that poetry has played over the entire Arab world; in this way, stories of the past that are expressed as poetry can act as a lynch-pin of a region’s heritage, tying history to lore and creating a sustainable future for this unique art-form.

The event is strategically planned to support Abu Dhabi’s cultural movement that wishes to engage with distinguished poets from the UAE, the Arab world, and Arab Poetry enthusiasts worldwide.

The festival will also host the Abu Dhabi Poetry Conference, from 12-14 October 2023. The sessions will focus on critical and academic studies, and genres of Arabic poetry. Attendees will explore the most prominent activities, programs and initiatives currently taking place on the poetic scene. Emerging poetic talents and achievements of notable current poets will be highlighted, illuminating the vibrancy of the Emirati poetic scene. The event underscores Abu Dhabi’s pivotal role in facilitating the exchange of artistic experiences and knowledge in classical and Nabati poetry. It also underlines the emirate’s commitment to promoting Arab poetry and showcasing its aesthetic to the world.

Abu Dhabi Poetry Festival will feature several pavilions and platforms, including a pavilion dedicated to the poetry written by the Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and a pavilion for Emirati poetry. It will also present The Poetic Trail platform, an icon of the festival which is designed to shed light on the multiple stages and evolutionary heights of Arab poetry throughout the history of this fine linguistic art, which has been one of the most beloved forms of expression for generations extended over thousands of years in the Arab world.

The festival will host a number of specialised cultural seminars and poetry evenings with the participation of poets from various Arab countries, there will be a book signing corner, where authors get to meet and interact with readers and sign their new publications, and a very special pavilion for children where the next generation can discover the beauty and resonance of poetry.

In addition, the festival will be hosting the final auditions stage of the Million’s Poet Show for Nabati vernacular poetry, regarded as the perfect opportunity for the introduction of an updated Million’s Poet Show to bring momentum to the cultural expansion of Abu Dhabi. The festival will host the tryouts for all poets in the running for the finals of the famous event’s 11th season after the show’s expert panel have sorted and evaluated 1,027 poems written by poets from 23 countries.

The panel has had the task of choosing the best of the submitted creative work in accordance with the established artistic, linguistic and stylistic criteria of the show, and have chosen 512 poets from the candidates to be hosted at the festival in Abu Dhabi for the final 100 selection interviews, where 100 poets will be selected to undergo written poetry tests to find the finalists according to artistic and critical criteria. The show’s panel of judges will be naming the poets who will be invited to participate in live shows at Al Raha Theatre in Abu Dhabi for the biggest Nabati Poetry competition and have the opportunity to win valuable prizes.