02 June 2021
The poet and musician was awarded the medal at the Hay Festival
The Hay Festival medals have been awarded annually since Britain's Olympic year 2012, drawing inspiration from the original Olympic medal for poetry, with Athena as its muse.
'I’ve lost count of how many years I’ve been going to Hay Festival as a poet, novelist, musician, as an audience member, and now digitally,' said Benjamin. 'So, when I say that receiving the Hay Festival Medal for Poetry is a great moment for me, you must understand, I really mean it. I love the Festival, I love the people who work on the Festival, and I love the town. For me, this medal is all about love. Thank you.'
'It's a privilege to celebrate Benjamin Zephaniah at this year's event with the Hay Festival Medal for Poetry,' said Hy festival's educatoin manager Aine Venables. 'Since his first book in 1980, Zephaniah's work has been enjoyed by generation after generation of readers and progressed important conversations in the UK and around the world. Over the years, we've seen first-hand how his writing connects with young audiences in particular, offering hope and inspiration to many.'
Benjamin's most recent novel for young readers is Windrush Child, published by Scholastic in November last year.