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Mererid Hopwood receives first hay festival medal

HAY FESTIVAL awarded its first Hay Festival Medal today, gifting the handmade silver medallion to Welsh poet Mererid Hopwood.  

Awarded annually since Britain’s 2012 Olympic year, the Medals draw inspiration from the original Olympic medal for poetry. With Athena as muse, silversmith Christopher Hamilton crafts them locally.

Other recipients for 2023 medals are Alice Oseman (Medal for Fiction), Serhiy Zhadan (Medal for Songwriting) and Salman Rushdie (Medal for Prose). Like Hopwood, Oseman and Zhadan will each receive their Medal live on stage at Hay Festival 2023, while Rushdie will receive his medal remotely.

Mererid Hopwood 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 Hay Festival’s most viewed events ever on Hay Player.

She said: “In accepting this Medal, looking back there are many whom I would like to thank for their support from the early days. These include friends at Ysgol Farddol Caerfyrddin for the learning, the Talwrn community for the listening, and Peter Florence and the Hay Festival for the encouragement.

“Looking forward, I would like to express the hope that all of us who love literature will continue to search for the words that bring us together in peace rather than drive us apart in war.”

Hay Festival runs 25 May–4 June in the booktown of Hay-on-Wye.