Author Philip Pullman (1965, English) has said he is “very surprised and honoured” after being awarded a knighthood.
The alumnus and Honorary Fellow of Exeter College has been recognised in the New Year Honours for his services to literature.
Sir Philip said he was “proud” to be in the company of many people he admired.
Among his books are the His Dark Materials trilogy, the Sally Lockhart mysteries, and The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ. He is currently writing a new trilogy called The Book of Dust. The first in this series, La Belle Sauvage, was published in 2017 and was named the Waterstones book of the year.
Sir Philip has campaigned vigorously against library closures and for authors’ rights. In 2013 he was elected president of the Society of Authors.
In a statement, he said: “I believe the profession of letters should be recognised as having a proper place in the life of the nation, along with science, and sport, and music, and scholarship, and many other human activities.
“Many people I admire, such as Quentin Blake, Ellen MacArthur, Chris Hoy, Jacqueline Wilson, Nicholas Hytner, Jocelyn Bell Burnell, Bryn Terfel, Ray Davies, Mary Beard – far too many to list – have been happy to accept a knighthood or damehood, and I am proud to be in their company.”
He added: “I’m immensely grateful to those who have worked so hard over many years to edit, publish, illustrate, and sell my books, and to the Society of Authors, which does so much for the profession of authorship. I’m most grateful of all to those who continue to read my books, and I hope they don’t have to work as hard as those who edit them.”
Fans of Philip Pullman may be excited to learn that on Friday 8 February he will feature in an in-depth interview in the BBC’s flagship cultural review programme, Front Row Late. In the programme Professor Mary Beard will talk to Sir Philip about his life and work, including his time at Exeter College. Front Row Late will be broadcast on BBC Two at 11.05 pm and will be available on the BBC iPlayer for 30 days afterwards.