Hanan, a poet whose “words are like ribbons weaving languages and cultures together,” (Casia Wiliam, 2022) will take on the role of National Poet of Wales for 2022-25. Hanan hopes to continue the great work of her predecessors in promoting Wales, Welshness, and the Welsh language outside of its borders. She wants people to recognise Wales as a country bursting with creativity: a land of poets and singers with so much to offer the arts.
“I am delighted to welcome Hanan Issa to the role of National Poet of Wales. She will act as a cultural ambassador for Wales, and I look forward to hearing her verse and how she responds to events during her tenure.”
Dawn Bowden MS, Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport, and Chief Whip
About Hanan Issa:
Hanan is a Welsh-Iraqi poet, filmmaker and artist from Cardiff. Her recent works include her poetry collection My Body Can House Two Hearts (Burning Eye Books, 2019) and her contributions to Welsh (Plural): Essays on the Future of Wales (Repeater Books, 2022) and The Mab (Unbound, 2022), a retelling of the Mabinogi stories for children. Her winning monologue ‘With Her Back Straight’ was performed at the Bush Theatre as part of the Hijabi Monologues. She was also part of the writers room for Channel 4’s ground-breaking series We Are Lady Parts alongside its award-winning creator, Nida Manzoor. Hanan received a 2020 Ffilm Cymru/ BBC Wales commission for her short film The Golden Apple. Her work has been performed and published on platforms such as BBC Wales, ITV Wales, Huffington Post, StAnza Festival, Poetry Wales, Y Stamp, Wales Arts Review, Wales Arts International and the British Council. Hanan co-founded the Cardiff open-mic night Where I’m Coming From. She was also a member of the first cohort of writers who took part in Literature Wales’ Representing Wales programme in 2021.
“Poetry exists in the bones of this country. The Welsh language itself has evolved hand in hand with the country’s oldest form of poetry and it’s important we continue to reinvent ways of creatively engaging with Wales’ traditions and history. Poetry helps me make sense of the world and I want to share the comfort and clarity it can provide in times of uncertainty.
More than anything, I want to capture the interest and inspiration of the public to see themselves in Welsh poetry and encourage a much more open sense of what Welshness is.”
Hanan Issa, National Poet of Wales