Photograph: Michael Leckie
We are delighted to learn that SoA President Philip Pullman has been knighted in the Queen’s New Year Honours list, announced last night (28 December 2018).
A tenacious advocate for authors and literature, Philip is actively involved in campaigning work for the SoA, as well as for the Royal Society of Literature and the Blake Society. He has served as SoA President since 2013 and has used the position to passionately champion authors’ rights on fees, royalties, copyright, contract terms and high discounting.
Commenting on the announcement, Philip said:
I was very surprised and honoured to be offered a knighthood. 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.
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.
He is recognised by colleagues not only for the outstanding quality of his writing, but for the practical change he has made to the lives of authors and readers alike.
Writer, translator and fellow SoA council member Daniel Hahn described Philip as ‘truly peerless’, saying:
His prodigious inventiveness, his intellectual ambition, his bravery, his compassion, his ability – quite simply – to write like a dream, book after book, all these qualities combine to make him the very best of all. Philip Pullman’s work has been recognised with – among others – the single most important international prize for children’s literature, the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award; it’s time we acknowledged his extraordinary contribution to our culture and celebrated him back home.
Antony Vinall, Secretary of the Blake Society, spoke of their ‘great debt of gratitude’ to Philip for his ‘patronage, advice and inspiration’, while Tim Robertson, former director of the Royal Society of Literature, said:
Philip has become the leading opinion-former in our age on the value of reading and the needs of writers … I can think of no other writer more deserving of a knighthood.