Writers and British Library Chief Celebrate New Year Honours Awards

British Library

Sir Roly Keating, Chief Executive of the British Library.

Roly Keating, Chief Executive of the British Library, has been knighted for services to literature in the 2023 New Year Honours which recognises the achievements and service of people across the UK.

“This is an incredible honour to receive, and I see it as a recognition of the unique role that the British Library has come to play in national life over the past five decades,” said Keating who has been in the role since 2012 and overseen the library’s expansion. “The Library’s collection is a marvel, but what brings it to life for our users is the expertise and dedication of our staff, who work creatively and tirelessly to make our intellectual and cultural heritage available to all.”

Writers recognised in King Charles III’s first New Year’s Honours list include:

  • Emeritus Professor of English at the University of Oxford, Dame Hermione Lee, biographer of Edith Wharton, Penelope Fitzgerald, Tom Stoppard, and Virginia Woolf, who receives the highest honour, a GBE (Dame Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire) for services to English Literature.
  • Political academic Vernon Bogdanor, author of The Monarchy and the Constitution, and The Strange Survival of Liberal Britain: Politics and Power Before the First World War, also receives a knighthood. Artist and author of The Descent of Man and Playing to the Gallery, Grayson Perry also receives a knighthood
  • Professor of Children’s Literature at Newcastle University Kimberley Griffith Reynolds, author of A Very Short Introduction to Children’s Literature, and who also established the National Centre for Research in Children’s Literature, receives an OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) for services to literature
  • An OBE also goes to David Sutherland, illustrator of the comic The Beano (including Dennis the Menace from 1970 until 1998), for services to Illustration.
  • An MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) is awarded to writer Francesca Simon, best known for her Horrid Henry children’s books, for services to literature. Also receiving an MBE, for services to history and literature, is historian and writer Helena Whitbread, who decoded the encrypted journals of 19th century businesswoman and diarist Anne Lister aka Gentleman Jack featured in the Winter 2023 issue of FB&C
  • Cambridge University student, environmental activist and author of the prizewinning Diary of a Young Naturalist Dara McAnulty receives a BEM (British Empire Medal) for services to the environment and the autistic community. There are also BEMs for Jessie Smith, author of Jessie’s Journey: Autobiography of a Traveller Girl for services to the Scottish Traveller community, and Molly Watts, author of several books for children and families anxious about going into hospital including Chloe the rabbit has Hyperinsulinism, for services to literature during the covid pandemic.