Kurdish female poet achieves milestone at Russian literary festival

Participating in the 10th Young Poets Festival in Russia, Payam stood out among 2,000 entrants. Her poem, written in Kurdish and later translated into Russian, has propelled her to the fifth stage of the competition, making her one of the 108 finalists.
Payam Hazim Hussein, Kurdish female poet participating in Leonid Filatov Festival. (Photo: Kurdistan 24)
Payam Hazim Hussein, Kurdish female poet participating in Leonid Filatov Festival. (Photo: Kurdistan 24)

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Payam Hazim Hussein, a Kurdish girl from the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, has made a significant mark in a Russian poetry festival, emerging as the only participant from the Middle East to win the competition.

Participating in the 10th Young Poets Festival in Russia, Payam stood out among 2,000 entrants. Her poem, originally written in Kurdish and later translated into Russian by Dr. Hemn Tahir, has propelled her to the fifth stage of the competition, making her one of the 108 finalists.

In an interview with Kurdistan 24, Payam shared her journey: “I entered the Young Poets Festival, Leonid Filatov Festival, with one of my poems. The festival involves multiple stages, starting with the submission of applications. After four rounds, the festival director announced the names of the finalists at a press conference at TASS news agency. I am honored to be among them.”

Payam emphasized the significance of her participation: “This poem was written in Kurdish two years ago. I joined this festival to introduce Kurdish literature and voices to other nations. It is important to convey our message through words. Reading poetry in the land of Dostoevsky, Chekhov, and Pushkin is a remarkable experience.”

Reflecting on her progress, Payam expressed her gratitude and determination: “For me, reaching this stage is already a victory. This involvement has fueled my passion for better writing and inspiration. Of course, everyone enters with the intention of winning, but in a competition with hundreds and thousands of participants, one must be prepared for any outcome. Regardless, I am committed to this journey.”

Payam also highlighted the warm reception she received from the festival organizers: “The organizers were very welcoming and expressed their happiness at having a Kurdish and foreign girl participate in their country’s festival.”

The Leonid Filatov Festival of Young Poets, launched in 2014 and celebrating its jubilee this year, is supported by the Presidential Foundation for Cultural Initiatives. The final round is scheduled for October 14, 2024, with the winner receiving 1 million rubles (over $10,000).

Payam Hazim Hussein, who came to Russia three years ago on a scholarship from the Kurdistan Regional Government, is currently pursuing a master’s degree in philosophy at the Peoples' Friendship University of Russia in Moscow. She remains actively involved in the arts, further enriching her academic and cultural journey.