By Megan Whitlock
Alongside the Jubilee Celebrations that spanned the nation earlier this month, the start of June marked the annual release of the Queen’s Birthday Honours list. The list, released every year, recognises a variety of figures in the book industry, from authors and illustrators to directors and librarians.
Notable names included James Daunt, Managing Director of Waterstones since May 2011 and ex-CEO of Barnes and Noble, who was made CBE for his services to publishing. Daunt has been colloquially referred to by the press in previous years as “the man who saved Waterstones,” and the bookstore itself made headlines earlier this month for its acquisition of Blackwell’s, the UK’s largest independent bookseller.
Illustrator Sir Quentin Blake was another familiar face who made the list, perhaps best known for his illustrations of the work of children’s author Roald Dahl. On his personal website, Blake made the following statement: “Of course it is an enormous privilege to be appointed a Companion of Honour, but it is also of special interest to me because it is not, unlike so many awards, just a medal that is pinned on you. On the one hand it acknowledges what you have done previously, but on the other looks forward to what you are going to do in the future. I have every hope that I have more projects in view but my new role means that I will set about them with renewed effort and enthusiasm.”
Joanne Harris, the current Chair of the Society of Authors and best known for her novels such as Chocolat, was awarded an OBE, whereas in wider organisations, Dr Darren Henley of Arts Council England and chair of The Reading Agency, Matthew Littleford, have been awarded a CBE and MBE respectively.
On The Reading Agency website, Matthew is quoted as saying: “I am delighted to receive this award as part of the Platinum Jubilee Honours. I would like to pay tribute to the tireless work of The Reading Agency team, our brilliant library partners, and Arts Council England, for working with us to tackle the big challenges faced by people across the country through the proven power of reading. The transformative benefits of reading have never been more needed.”