And the Winner is Not Hissa Hilal

For Hissa Hilal’s international fans—most of whom, presumably, are unacquainted with her verse—the decision of last Million’s Poet judges will be a disappointment.

The show’s winner was the 30-year-old Kuwaiti Nasser al Ajami.

Al Ajami apparently received 67 per cent of the public votes and judge points. According to Hassan Hassan at The National (who did not provide a translation of the winning poem):

Nasser is a poetry novice who began developing an interest in the art nine years ago although he never participated in public or published any of his work. Unlike other participants, who prepared for years before entering the competition, he said he wrote his poems day by day during the show. He said he would donate part of his prize money to charity, spend some of it to repay his debts and use the rest to buy a house.

Second place went to Kuwaiti Falah al Mowraqi, who received $1.08 million prize money. Hilal came in third.

After all the hooplah in the U.S. and U.K. press over Hilal, I couldn’t find any notice of al Ajami’s victory.