Peter Florence founded the Hay Festival with his parents 30 years ago, funding it with winnings from a poker game. Since then it has become one of the most important literary festivals in the world, fuelling and stimulating debate, nurturing people’s imaginations and love of books, supporting new writers of all nationalities, encouraging freedom of speech, opening our minds to art, science and philosophy and developing outreach work in schools. Hay has been called ‘a crucible for progressive thinking and action’ and, in Bill Clinton’s famous phrase, ‘the Woodstock of the mind’.
Fellows are nominated by peers and elected by our Council of writers – our governing Board. Being elected a Fellow of the RSL is a lifetime honour. This role gives them the opportunity to support other writers, readers and the future of literature. The RSL connects writers in the Fellowship to one another, and to a wider readership.