A children’s poetry anthology of ‘dragon-focused’ poems, conceived and edited by the National Poet of Wales, Hanan Issa, is due to hit the bookshelves next year.

The collection will be published by award-winning children’s and YA publisher Firefly Press. And the ground-breaking new anthology from diverse Welsh writers is aimed at children aged between eight and twelve, for whom both Hanan and Firefly feel poetry is ‘sorely underrepresented’.

The collection, entitled And I Hear Dragons, explores the concept of identity, and Hanan has written a poem of the same name that ‘celebrates the children of Wales as ferociously brave mythical beasts’, taking on discrimination, pollution etc, and upholding Wales’ tradition of croesawgar (welcoming).

A number of Welsh writers from diverse backgrounds across Wales have already been approached to write poems for the anthology, with contributors to be revealed in due course.

Announcing the collection, Hanan Issa said: ‘Wales has a such a rich history of poetry and I’m keen to continue encouraging that enthusiasm in the young people of Wales today. And I Here Dragons is a collection that roars in celebration of Wales’ distinct sense of identity and belonging!

Firefly publisher, Penny Thomas, added: ‘We were delighted when Hanan approached us with And I Hear Dragons! We had been trying to find a way to get a children’s poetry anthology from Wales off the ground for some time, but with Hanan’s insightful vision and knowledge of poetry from Wales, we are confident this

title will take flight and become a valuable and inspiring collection for children to enjoy and find themselves in poetry.

‘We are so looking forward to working with the National Poet and all the contributors on this.’

Hanan Issa is a writer, poet and artist, as well as the co-founder of the Where I’m Coming From open mic collective, whose debut pamphlet My Body Can House Two Hearts was published by Burning Eye Books. Her work has been performed and published on platforms such as BBC Wales, ITV Wales, Huffington Post, StAnza Festival, Poetry Wales, Wales Arts International and the British Council. Alongside her short narrative film The Golden Apple, she is currently working on an essay anthology Welsh: plural, published by Repeater Books, as well as a children’s short story contribution to Unbound’s The Mab, a retelling of the classic Mabinogi stories.

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