Susan Hill and Mary Berry awarded damehoods in Queen's Birthday Honours

Susan Hill and Mary Berry awarded damehoods in Queen's Birthday Honours

Novelist Susan Hill and food writer Mary Berry (pictured) have been awarded damehoods in the Queen's Birthday Honours, while the National Literacy Trust's chief executive Jonathan Douglas received a CBE, and Booker winner Bernardine Evaristo, writer and translator Daniel Hahn and Oneworld publisher Juliet Mabey have received OBEs. Children's Laureate Cressida Cowell, short story writer, poet and publisher Kadija George Sesay and fitness coach and author Joe Wicks received MBEs.

Berry and Hill—who both already have CBEs, the highest ranking Order of the British Empire award, excluding a knighthood or damehood—were made dames respectively for "services to broadcasting, the culinary arts and charity" and "for services to literature".

"I am absolutely overwhelmed to receive this very great honour," said Berry." For most of my life I have been lucky enough to follow my passion to teach cookery through books and the media. I just wish my parents and brothers were here to share my joy, as my only achievement at school was just one O-level, in cookery of course. However, I am sure they are looking down and smiling."

Hill said she was "very surprised but pleased too". "Lovely for me and for books and readers and writing and writers," she said, adding: "I’m also chuffed to have caught up with my friend Dame Judi Dench!"

The NLT's Douglas received a CBE "for services to education", alongside librarian Linda Tomos for the National Library of Wales, "for services to Welsh culture", and British type designer Matthew Carter, "for services to typography and design".

Douglas said on social media he was "pleased as Punch to be awarded a CBE". He hailed it "a moment to celebrate the colleagues, writers and partners who make the work of [the National Literacy Trust] so powerful", adding it was "great that so many of them are also recognised".

Receiving OBEs were Mabey "for services to publishing", and Hahn and Evaristo "for services to literature". Sally Wainwright also received an OBE, "for services to writing and television".

Mabey told The Bookseller: "It’s incredibly gratifying to realise that our efforts at Oneworld to build a truly global stable of authors with diverse voices and perspectives over the last three decades has been recognised in this way. But it’s important to remember that publishing is very much a team effort, and this honour goes also to Oneworld’s fantastic team and our brilliant authors."

Hahn said: "Whatever my qualms about some aspects of this system, I'm obviously pleased and very grateful that the sort of work I do is being recognised. Most of the areas in which I work–translation being the most acute example of this–have historically been pretty undervalued, making this announcement feel all the more welcome. I suspect that the kind messages and enthusiasm I've been receiving from friends and colleagues the last couple of days suggest a sense that it's not about benefiting one lucky person, but that it's really good news for the profession and the sector. I do hope that's how people feel about it. Asserting the value to our national life of something like translation, the carrying of stories freely across borders, is a bit of symbolism I can certainly live with these days."

"Well, Mz Evaristo of Suburbia got an upgrade from MBE to OBE. I shalt now be known as Evaristobe," said Evaristo on social media. She added: "I believe that full participation in this country includes the national gongs, even those with anachronistic titles, but I respect those who beg to differ."

Librarians were well represented in the Birthday Honours. Julie Oldham, head of Library and Museum Services at Bolton Council, received an OBE. MBEs were awarded "for services to libraries and the arts" to Andrew Bentley in Cheshire, and "for services to public libraries" to Libraries Connected chief executive Isobel Hunter, professor Steven John Broomhead and Michelle Alford in Lancashire, Janet Holden in Suffolk, Sarah Smith in London and Gateshead Library Service manager Stephen James Walters. 

Wicks, whose virtual PE sessions provided a morale boost to many during lockdown, particularly for schoolchildren, was awarded an MBE for "services to fitness and charity in the UK and abroad particularly during Covid-19". Cowell received an MBE "for services to children's literature" and Sesay for "for services to publishing".

Other writers honoured with an MBE included speaker and author Nelly Ben-Or Clynes "for services to Holocaust education" and Martin Bailey, "for services to art history and journalism".