Alan Bennett, Robert Macfarlane and Chris Riddell received Hay Medals this weekend at the Hay Festival. The medals are awarded annually to celebrate important contributions to literature.
Bennett was awarded the Hay Festival Medal for Drama following his preview of the upcoming film adaptation of his play, The Lady in the Van, at the festival on Saturday (30th May). Also on Saturday, nature writer Macfarlane was awarded the Hay Festival Medal for Prose as he presented his latest book, Landmarks (Penguin), at the festival’s third Woodland Trust Series event and children’s author and illustrator Riddell was awarded the Hay Festival Medal for Illustration as he brought his live drawing tour to Hay.
Germaine Greer accepted the festival’s first Hay Festival Medal for Education earlier in the month.
Hay Festival director, Peter Florence, said: “The Hay Medals are given for exceptional work. Germaine Greer is the most inspiring teacher of poetry I’ve ever heard. She re-teaches us how to read and respond. Alan Bennett’s writing - and specifically The Lady in the Van - combines compassion and an exquisite eye for human comedy. Chris Riddell’s versatility as a collaborator with fiction writers and as a political cartoonist has established him as the greatest illustrator of his generation. And Robert Macfarlane has changed forever the ways we recover old language and the way we respond to the landscape.”
Created by Christopher Hamilton, a silversmith local to the festival site in Hay-on-Wye, the medals have been awarded annually since Britain’s Olympic year (2012), drawing inspiration from the original Olympic medal given for poetry. The medals come engraved with an image of Athena’s owl and the recipient’s name.
Now in its 28th year, the 2015 festival programme spanned 11 days with over 700 events, ending yesterday (Sunday 31st May).