Cymrawd Rhyngwladol Hay Festival
Hay Festival International Fellowship

Hanan Issa is the 2022/23 Cymrawd Rhyngwladol Hay Festival / Hay Festival International Fellow.

On stage event

Writer, poet and spoken word artist Hanan Issa has been awarded the 2022/23 Cymrawd Rhyngwladol Cymru Greadigol Hay Festival | Hay Festival International Fellowship.

A participant of the Hay Festival Writers at Work development programme, Hanan’s debut pamphlet My Body can House two Hearts was published by Burning Eye Books in 2019. Her work has been performed and published in a variety of places including BBC Wales, ITV Wales, Huffington Post, StAnza festival and Poetry Wales. She is the co-founder of the Where I’m Coming From open mic collective and was named National Poet of Wales earlier this year.  
Funded by Arts Council Wales, the Fellowship supports a writer in Wales in attending Festival editions around the world in Mexico, Spain, Peru and Colombia while developing a writing or research project. Open to exceptional writers of all ages, it provides a unique opportunity for career development, while increasing Wales’ artistic profile internationally. 

Hanan Issa said: “I am unbelievably excited by this opportunity to explore such incredible places and connect with international writers. I am hoping to understand more about the literary traditions of folklore, fairy tales and poetry from countries I visit and gain a deeper insight of tales from my own heritage in Wales and Iraq.”

Hay Festival international director Cristina Fuentes La Roche said: “We are delighted to welcome Hanan Issa into the Hay Festival international fellowship. Hay Festival offers a unique space for writers, thinkers and audiences from across the world to share ideas in free, open conversations. From our booktown in Wales, the Festival has now travelled to more than 30 locations, from the historic town of Cartagena in Colombia to the heart of cities in Peru, Mexico, Spain, and the USA, and we look forward to sharing Hanan’s work with this international audience over the next 12 months.”

Mererid Hopwood
Alys Conran
Dylan Moore


“The Fellowship has given me so much confidence as a writer, and on a personal level it cannot be understated how appreciated the opportunity has been for somebody from a working-class background– given that some of my favourite things in life are reading, writing, travelling and meeting new people – the Hay Fellowship was something I was born to do!” Dylan Moore
'I’ve learnt far more about the position of indigenous writers around the world, and learnt to consider my own Welsh speaking identity in a wider context. I’ve gained a far greater understanding of some of the silencing forces at work on these writers, but also of just how powerful creativity can be in developing a will to change” Alys Conran 
"It has been such an adventure. I have made lasting connections and friendships, and learned so much about other people and other lives.  And the things I love.  And the things I didn't even know yet that I was capable of.  Never, in my professional life, has the work I've done felt so worthwhile. This Fellowship has, quite simply, changed everything." Jenny Valentine 
“During the year I met so many people and all of them shared the essential spirit of Hay, an innate generosity and inquisitiveness. I interviewed a host of writers, including Ben Okri, Tibor Fischer and Gyorgy Dragoman and was interviewed about my work in turn…it has changed me that much, and more.” Jon Gower
Jon Gower
Jenny Valentine
Tiffany Murray
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