Katara – the Cultural Village has received an overwhelming response to the two competitions it hosted as part of efforts to support the government’s stay-at-home policy to fight the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
A total of 1,831 entries were received in two categories of writing competition held for students and adults. The competitions, which were in English, were open to all citizens and residents of Qatar with valid residence permits.
The topics of the competitions were Working from Home (for adults) and Studying from Home (for students) and were launched when the government announced a partial lockdown to prevent the spread of Covid 19 pandemic.
A total of 1,138 entries were received in the student category and 693 entries in the adult category. There were participants belonging to a total of 83 nationalities residing in Qatar, of which there were students of 66 nationalities and adults of 52 nationalities.
A majority of the participants are from India, the Philippines, the US, Britain, Egypt, Pakistan, Jordan and Lebanon. There were 34 Qatari students and five Qatari adults among the participants.
“We are overwhelmed by the response to the competitions. Katara – the Cultural Village has always been in the forefront of organising cultural and literary events, workshops and competitions to bring people together and strengthen cultural ties and encourage talent. These competitions came at a time when the entire world is engaged in a struggle against the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Dr Khalid bin Ibrahim al-Sulaiti, general manager of Katara – the Cultural Village.
Khalid al-Sayed, head of the Competitions Committee, said the topics were selected to ensure maximum participation from residents.
“These competitions were meant to support the government’s stay-at-home policy and physical distancing efforts. We wanted to provide an opportunity to people to share their experiences, which will be interesting to a global audience. The huge participation from students shows that they received the competition with great enthusiasm and it was a golden opportunity to improve their creative skills,” al-Sayed said.
“The huge numbers of participation in these competitions will also give us an opportunity to study the latest trends in work-at-home and study-at-home practices and to map and analyse the preferences and possibilities in this regard. This can give us indications about how to move forward in this area by studying these responses,” al-Sayed said.
The winning entries will be selected by a panel of highly competent judges. The first, second and third prizes in both categories carry cash awards of QR10,000, QR7,000 and QR5,000, respectively.
Katara has also decided to give seven consolation prizes in each category considering the huge number of participants. Also, the best entries selected by the judges will be published in a book by the Katara Publishing House.
This is the second time Katara is organising a writing competition in English for the community. It had recently organised a creative writing workshop and shorty story completion for students of English-medium schools in Qatar.
Katara also organises the annual Arabic fiction awards, which is the biggest prize of its kind in the Middle East region both in prize money and the number of participants. The prize-winning novels are also translated into English and French.