Winner of The Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry 2004



Her Majesty has been pleased to approve the award of The Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry for the year 2004 to Mr. Hugo Williams.


Hugo Williams was born in 1942, the son of actor-playwrights Hugh and Margaret Williams, and grew up in Sussex.

He worked on the London Magazine from 1961 to 1970, since when he has earned his living as a freelance journalist and travel writer. He currently writes the 'Freelance' column in the Times Literary Supplement.

Following his debut collection in 1965, Symptoms of Loss, Hugo Williams's impressive body of work has included: Writing Home, Self Portrait with a Slide, Dock Leaves, a PBS Choice of 1994, and Billy's Rain, winner of the 1999 T. S. Eliot Prize. In 2001 Faber published his anthology: Curtain Call: 101 Portraits in Verse. Hugo Williams's Collected Poems was published in 2002.

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 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. The announcement of the award is made today, the probable 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. Originally the award was open only to British people, but in 1985 the scope was extended to include people from the Commonwealth realms.

The obverse of the medal bears the crowned effigy of The Queen. The idea of the reverse, which was designed by Edmund Dulac, is: "Truth emerging from her well and holding in her right hand the divine flame of inspiration - Beauty is truth and Truth Beauty".

Media information

An image of the Gold Medal for Poetry is available from the Press Association.

Mr. Williams will be presented with the medal by The Queen at Buckingham Palace on 25 May 2004.

For further information about Mr Williams contact Rachel Alexander 0207 4657 553 or Anna Pallai 0207 657 556 at Faber and Faber.

Previous recipients of The Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry

1934 Laurence Whistler

1936 W H Auden

1940 Michael Thwaites

1952 Andrew Young

1953 Arthur Waley

1954 Ralph Hodgson

1955 Ruth Pitter

1956 Edmund Blunden

1957 Siegfried Sassoon

1959 Francis Cornford

1960 John Betjeman

1962 Christopher Fry

1963 William Plomer

1964 R. S. Thomas

1965 Philip Larkin

1967 Charles Causley

1968 Robert Graves

1969 Stevie Smith

1970 Roy Fuller

1971 Sir Stephen Spender

1973 John Heath-Stubbs

1974 Ted Hughes

1977 Norman Nicholson

1981 D. J. Enright

1986 Norman MacCaig

1988 Derek Walcott

1989 Allen Curnow

1990 Sorley Maclean

1991 Judith Wright

1992 Kathleen Raine

1996 Peter Redgrove

1998 Les Murray

2000 Edwin Morgan

2001 Michael Longley

2002 Peter Porter

2003 U.A. Fanthorpe