Hay Festival Medals

Awarded annually since Britain’s Olympic year (2012), and crafted locally by silversmith Christopher Hamilton, the Hay Festival Medals draw inspiration from the original Olympic medal given for poetry.

Hay Festival medals in 2023 are awarded to a quartet of world-changing storytellers, honouring exceptional work in fiction, poetry, prose and songwriting:

Mererid Hopwood
Alice Oseman

Mererid Hopwood (Medal for Poetry) has spent her career weaving connections between language, literature, education and the arts. For her poetry, she has won the National Eisteddfod of Wales’ Chair, Tir na n’Og prize, Crown and Prose Medal and Welsh Book of the Year prize. Her lockdown contribution to Hay Festival in 2020 – ‘What’s Wales in Welsh’ – has become one of our most viewed events ever on Hay Player. Watch her medal event now.

Alice Oseman (Medal for Fiction) is an award-winning author, illustrator and screenwriter. She has written four YA contemporary novels about teenage disasters – Solitaire, Radio Silence, I Was Born for This and Loveless – and is the creator of LGBTQ+ YA romance webcomic Heartstopper, reaching an even wider audience when the TV adaptation was released on Netflix last year. Watch her medal event now.

Salman Rushdie
Serhiy Zhadan

Salman Rushdie (Medal for Prose) is a prize-winning novelist who has participated in Hay Festival conversations for decades in the UK and further afield. His latest novel, Victory City, will be launched at Hay Festival 2023 by a panel including Margaret Atwood and Elif Shafak, while he continues his recovery from last August’s brutal attack. Watch his medal event now.

Serhiy Zhadan (Medal for Songwriting) is Ukraine’s rock star poet. Born in Starobilsk, Luhansk Oblast, he is a writer of fiction, poetry and – with his band Zhadan i Sobaky (Zhadan and the Dogs) – songs blending rock, ska and punk. Documenting the struggles of his compatriots caught in a brutal war, he has become one of the country’s most important writers and an essential voice in world literature. Listen to his medal event now.



   Medal for Fiction – Alice Oseman

   Medal for Poetry – Mererid Hopwood

   Medal for Prose – Salman Rushdie

   Medal for Songwriting – Serhiy Zhadan


   Medal for Drama – David Harewood

   Medal for Journalism – Lyse Doucet

   Medal for Poetry – Robert Minhinnick

   Medal for Prose – Jacqueline Wilson


   Medal for Drama – Emerald Fennell

   Medal for Journalism – George Monbiot

   Medal for Poetry – Benjamin Zephaniah

   Medal for Prose – Ali Smith


   Medal for Journalism – Lydia Cacho

   Medal for Poetry – Inua Ellams

   Medal for Prose – Hilary Mantel


   Medal for Journalism – Carole Cadwalladr

   Medal for Poetry – Julia Donaldson

   Medal for Illustration – Axel Scheffler

   Medal for Fiction – Eric Vuillard



   Medal for Prose – Margaret Atwood

   Medal for Poetry – Evelyn Schlag

   Medal for Illustration – Jackie Morris



   Medal for Drama – Daniel Morden

   Medal for Prose – Philippe Sands

   Medal for Fiction – Cressida Cowell

   Medal for Festivals – Ahdaf Soueif



   Medal for Drama – Gregory Doran

   Medal for Poetry – Gillian Clarke

   Medal for Prose – Janine di Giovanni

   Medal for Song – Laura Marling



   Medal for Drama – Alan Bennett

   Medal for Education – Germaine Greer

   Medal for Illustration – Chris Riddell 

   Medal for Prose – Robert MacFarlane


   Medal for Drama – Hans Rosenfeldt

   Medal for Prose – Karl Ove Knausgaard

   Medal for Illustration – Oliver Jeffers 


   Medal for Fiction – John le Carre

   Medal for Poetry – Owen Sheers

   Medal for Drama – Miranda Hart


   Medal for Drama – Abi Morgan

   Medal for Poetry – Simon Armitage 

   Medal for Prose – Jeanette Winterson

Hay Festival medals being madeHay Festival medals being made