Bodley Medal: Philip Pullman


Bodley Medal: Sir Philip Pullman

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 Thursday 9 November 2023

 6 – 7.30pm

  At the Sheldonian Theatre

  Booking required

This event is now sold out.

About the event

Sir Philip Pullman talks about his life and work with Bodley’s Librarian Richard Ovenden and receives the Bodley Medal for his outstanding contribution to literature.

The evening will begin with a panel discussion chaired by Erica Wagner, with Cressida Cowell, Dr Philip Goff, Dr Margaret Kean and Dr Rowan Williams.

This will be followed by Sir Philip Pullman in conversation with Richard Ovenden, and the presentation of the Bodley Medal.

About the Bodley Medal

The Bodley Medal is the Bodleian Libraries’ highest honour, awarded to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the worlds of books and literature, libraries, media and communications, science and philanthropy.

First presented in 2002, previous recipients have included Peter Carey (2012), Hilary Mantel (2013), Nicholas Hytner (2014), Ian McEwan (2015), Professor Mary Beard (2016), William Boyd (2017), Claire Tomalin (2018), Kazuo Ishiguro (2019), Zadie Smith (2022) and most recently, Colm Tóibín (2023). Robert Caro (2022) was the first person to receive his award at the North American edition of the Bodley Medal presentation.


Sir Philip Pullman is one of the most highly respected authors writing today. He is the author of several best-selling books, including the fantasy trilogy His Dark Materials and the fictionalised biography of Jesus, The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ. In 2008, The Times named Pullman one of the '50 greatest British writers since 1945′. Winner of many prestigious awards, including the Carnegie of Carnegies and the Whitbread Award, Pullman’s trilogy His Dark Materials has sold 22 million copies worldwide and been translated into 40 languages, and was recently adapted into a TV series for the BBC and HBO. In 2005 Pullman was awarded the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award. He was knighted in the 2019 New Year Honours for services to literature. He lives in Oxford.

Richard Ovenden OBE is Bodley's Librarian at the Bodleian Libraries and Head of Gardens, Libraries and Museums at the University of Oxford.

Erica Wagner is an author and critic. She is Lead Editorial Innovator at Creatd, Inc; a Contributing Writer for the New Statesman and Consulting Literary Editor for Harper’s Bazaar UK, as well as Goldsmiths Distinguished Writers’ Centre Fellow. Her books include Gravity: Stories, Ariel's Gift: Ted Hughes, Sylvia Plath and the Story of Birthday Letters and Chief Engineer: The Man Who Built the Brooklyn Bridge. Her latest book is Mary and Mr Eliot: A Sort of Love Story (2022).

Cressida Cowell MBE is a children's author, the Waterstones Children's Laureate and the author and illustrator of How to Train Your Dragon and The Wizards of Once.

Dr Philip Goff is an author, philosopher, and professor at Durham University

Dr Margaret Kean is the Dame Helen Gardner Fellow in English and Tutor in English at St Hilda's College, Oxford.

Dr Rowan Williams is a theological writer, scholar and teacher, and the former Archbishop of Canterbury (2002–12).

 Booking information

This event takes place in person at the Sheldonian Theatre, and booking is required. Once you have booked your place, the ticketing system will send you an automated confirmation.

  • Students: £5
  • Oxford University staff: £7
  • General admission: £12.50


Sheldonian Theatre, Broad Street, Oxford, OX1 3AZ

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 Wheelchair access

The Sheldonian Theatre is wheelchair accessible.

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