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.

The Hay Festival medals in 2020 are awarded to honour exceptional work in poetry, prose and journalism. Inua Ellams’ poetry medal celebrates his book The Half God of Rainfall, a brilliantly conceived narrative poem playing with African and Greek mythologies. The daring of the idea and the language make it a masterpiece of contemporary poetry. Lydia Cacho’s journalism medal salutes her heroic commitment to investigative journalism exposing atrocities against women and her resilience in the face of relentless persecution. And Hilary Mantel’s prose medal is for her Thomas Cromwell trilogy, a fully-imagined world, made intimately familiar. The language she finds to make history urgent and vital, and the exquisite attention to her characters’ deeply flawed humanity makes this one of the greatest literary achievements of our time.



   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

Laura Marling receiving a Hay Festival medalLaura Marling receiving the Hay Festival Medal for Song
Hay Festival medals being madeHay Festival medals being made