Leaders mourn Nabati poetess Ousha Al Suwaidi

She was one of the first women to write Nabati poetry when she started in her teen years

Dubai: The country is mourning the loss of Emirati poetess Ousha Bint Khalifa Bin Amad Al Suwaidi — known as Fatat Al Arab [Girl of the Arabs] — who broke down barriers in the male-dominated literature landscape in her youth.


Al Suwaidi was 98.

His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, on Friday mourned the legendary poetess.

“The UAE has lost a great symbol of literature, wisdom and poetry. Ousha Bint Khalifa Al Suwaidi, Fatat Al Arab. May Almighty Allah bestow his mercy upon her and rest her soul in eternal peace and grant her family patience and solace,” Shaikh Mohammad tweeted.

“Fatat Al Arab has left behind treasures of literature and poetry, which will continue to tell her biography and she will always be remembered,” Shaikh Mohammad added.

His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, also mourned the Emirati poetess saying: “The UAE has lost a great literary figure who left a prominent mark in Nabati poetry. Her poems have enriched the Emirati memory with wisdom, knowledge and creativity. May Allah have mercy on Ousha Bint Khalifa Al Suwaidi and grant her family patience and solace.”

Noora Mohammad Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, also mourned the poetess saying: “Ousha Bint Khalifa Al Suwaidi is an exceptional figure with a proven track record of outstanding achievements and contributions to the local cultural scene.

“She is a popular contemporary poet known for her rich contents and multifaceted creativity. The cultural scene will miss a great poet,” Al Kaabi tweeted.

She was called Fatat Al Arab by Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid after he held a series of poetry recitals with her.

Her Nabati poems have also been turned into songs.

In March 2014, Al Suwaidi was feted with the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature’s Personality of the Year award to honour her trailblazing contributions to Arabic literature.

On behalf of Al Suwaidi, the award was accepted four years ago by Dr Rafia Ghubash, founder of the Women’s Museum and the poetess’ official biographer.

“It is truly humbling to be awarded for doing something I love and I would like to thank the festival for this honour,” Al Suwaidi said at the time.

“Literature has always been a part of my life but it was poetry that gave me the opportunity to express myself fully. I have seen the power of poetry transform and develop people, society and nations,” she added.

Al Suwaidi’s love for the written word came somewhat naturally as she was raised in a family known for its love of literature.

In her teenage years, she had listened to many poets as they recited their poetry and at the age of 15, she recited poetry and quickly received recognition for her gift within the community.

Al Suwaidi soon began to pen her own poems writing about love, wisdom and patriotism.

“When I began, I was one of the rare women who recited and wrote poems; but slowly and steadily more women joined me and we became a movement, then an important part of the UAE’s literary culture. Now, one cannot imagine Arabic literature without women poets. This is the legacy I am most proud of,” she recounted in comments read on her behalf at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature award ceremony.

Her work was nationally recognised by the late Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan who lauded her for her writing which shed light on the emirates and the local language.

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Ousha Bint Khalifa Bin Amad Al Suwaidi was called Fatat Al Arab by Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid after a series of poetry recitals with her.

Her Nabati poems have also been turned into songs.

She started reciting poetry at the age of 15.

Her poems centre on themes of love, wisdom and patriotism.

She was chosen Personality of the Year by Emirates Airline Festival of Literature in 2014

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