THE FOLLOWING STATEMENT IS ISSUED BY THE PRESS SECRETARY TO THE QUEEN
The Queen has approved the award of Her Majesty's Gold Medal for Poetry for the year 2007 to James Fenton.
James Fenton was born in Lincoln in 1949 and won the Newdigate Prize for Poetry while studying at Oxford University. He has published numerous books and translations, including The Memory of War (1982), Children in Exile (1983), Out of Danger (1994), Selected Poems and a history of the Royal Academy of Art (of which he is Antiquary) in 2006. He has also worked as a political journalist, drama and literary critic, war and foreign correspondent, and columnist. He was Oxford Professor of Poetry from 1994 to 1999 and his poetry has won him numerous awards.
History of the Gold Medal for Poetry
The Gold Medal for Poetry was instituted by King George V in 1933 at the suggestion of the then Poet Laureate, John Masefield. Recommendations for the award of the Medal are made by a committee of eminent men and women of letters, under the chairmanship of the Poet Laureate (Professor Andrew Motion). The announcement of the award is made today, the probably birth date of Shakespeare in 1564.
The Medal is given for a book of verse published by someone from the United Kingdom or a Commonwealth realm. The obverse of the medal bears the crowned effigy of The Queen. The idea of the reverse, which was designed by the late Edmund Dulac, is "Truth is emerging from her well and holding in her right hand the divine flame of inspiration - Beauty is Truth and Truth Beauty".