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Writers and Creatives Recognised in the New Year Honours List

By Julia Fitzpatrick

King Charles has unveiled his New Year Honours list. This year’s honourees include many prominent figures in the literary world.


Hermione Lee was awarded the Dame Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire (GBE) for services to literature. Lee has written biographies of Virginia Woolf, Edith Wharton and Penelope Fitzgerald.

Vernon Bogdanor was knighted for services to political science. A constitutional expert, Bogdanor’s most recent publication is The Strange Survival of Liberal Britain.

Lesley Lokko, the novelist and founder of the Africa Futures Institute in Ghana, was made an Officer in the Order of the British Empire. Kimberley Reynolds, author of A Very Short Introduction to Children’s Literature, was also honoured with an OBE.

Four writers were honoured as Members of the Order of the British Empire (MBE). Historian Helena Whitbread, who deciphered the coded diaries of 19th century lesbian Anne Lister, was awarded an MBE. Auschwitz survivor, Lily Ebert, was honoured for services to Holocaust education. Ebert co-authored Lily’s Promise: How I Survived Auschwitz and Found the Strength to Live. MBEs were also awarded to Horrid Henry author Francesca Simon and journalist Catherine Belton.

Four authors received a British Empire Medal (BEM). Dara McAnulty, author of Diary of a Young Naturalist, was honoured for services to the environment and people with autism. Jess Smith, author of Jessie’s Journey, received a BEM for services to the Scottish Traveller community. Molly Watts received a BEM for her Nurse Dotty children’s books. Another BEM was awarded to Reverend Jason Young for raising public awareness of Black British history through the creative arts.

Librarians and public servants

Roland Keating, the Chief Executive of the British Library, received a Knighthood for services to literature. Keating has overseen the expansion of the British Library’s digital archives. Stephen John Bleakley, Area Manager for Libraries NI, was awarded an MBE. Three librarians also received a BEM: Zoey Dixon, Alan Garnsworthy, and Sylvie Knights.

Neil Mendoza has been made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for services to arts and culture. Mendoza is the Commissioner for Cultural Recovery and Renewal, a taskforce established to deal with the cultural effects of the pandemic. Claire Whitaker, a member of the taskforce, also received a CBE.


The artist Grayson Perry was knighted. Perry has written books including The Descent of Man and Playing to the Gallery. David Sutherland, illustrator of The Beano, was awarded an OBE.


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