2017 has been quite the year for J. K Rowling, in a writing career that in twenty years shows no signs of slowing down. This year has seen the Fantastic Beasts franchise explode, so much so that we’re still waiting for Lethal White, the latest in the Cormoran Strike series from her Robert Galbraith pseudonym. Now Rowling has been honoured at Buckingham Palace for services to literature too in a rare accolade that is surely the cherry on the pie for the much-loved author.
This week, on December 12th at a ceremony at Buckingham Palace, J. K Rowling was given a Companion of Honour accolade and medal, a rare title that can only be held by sixty-five people at any given time. The honour recognises “services of national importance” and was awarded to Rowling for her services to literature and philanthropy (fans of the author will be aware she was removed from The Times rich list for giving away most of her money).
The Companion of Honour was established in 1917 at the same time as the Order of the British Empire by King George V and is given out to worthy recipients across the Commonwealth realms. It’s a rare accolade, originally the order was restricted to just fifty members, in 1943 that was enlarged to 65.
There are currently sixty-two companions, including Rowling, plus three honorary companions. Other well known names on the list include Stephen Hawking, Lord Tebbit, Sir David Attenborough, David Hockney, Dame Judi Dench, and Sir Roger Bannister, to name but a few, putting Rowling in pretty good company!
Hopefully now her wonderful and whirlwind year is over, Jo can get back to finishing Lethal White (PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE!)
The Science Fiction Poetry Association’s award was started in 1978 in recognition of achievements in the field of speculative poetry. The award was named after the blind singer and storyteller “Noisy” Rhysling, the protagonist of Robert A. Heinlein’s “The Green Hills of Earth“.
Neil Gaiman’s poem The Mushroom Hunters beat a whole array of other-worldly poems to gain the prestigious first prize for a long poem. The poem has been heralded as the “first feminist poem about the dawn of science“.
Watch the reading, or read it yourself below.
The 2018 Orwell Prize for political literature goes to Scottish rapper Darren McGarvey who performs under the name Loki, who has won the prize for Poverty Safari, a searing examination of the British underclass.
The hall of fame for sci-fi and fantasy has been going since 1996 and Lee will be the first comic book writer to be included. Both he and Rowling have made a significant impact on the world of pop culture this past decade, with a stream of books and movies and an ever-expanding universe for both Marvel and the Potter fandom.
The scandal continued with many members resigning in protest, leaving the Academy in crisis due to its own rules. It looked as though the entire Nobel Prize Academy might have been disbanded forever but it was ultimately saved, although 2018 will be the first year in 69 years that the awards have not been given.
Tim Waterstone, founder of the eponymous book shop chain has been recognised with a knighthood for services to bookselling and charity. Author Kazuo Ishiguro has also received a knighthood for services to literature.