The Queen’s honours list is released twice a year in celebration of her birthday and the New Year. The list celebrates the services of people up and down the country (as well as honours of overseas services).
Each year, the literary sector features throughout the New Year’s Honour list; from honours for services to local libraries and for services to reading and education for young people, to services to the Arts and Literature. This year is certainly no different with Scottish poet and novelist Jackie Kay and English novelist Rose Tremain making the list.
Jackie Kay is a Scottish writer who in 2016 was made Scots Marker, the national poet of Scotland, a similar accolade to poet laureate. As well as poetry, Kay has published autobiographical books including Red Dust Road which is the tale of her search for her biological parents, a book which has been adapted for stage Tanika Gupta. Kay herself has also written extensively for stage, in fact, in 1988 her play Twice Over was the first play by a black writer to be produced by Gay Sweatshop Theatre Group. In the 2006 Queen’s birthday honours list, Kay was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) and in the 2020 New Year’s Honours list, the Scottish writer was promoted to Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for services to literature.
Joining her on the honours list from the literary world is English writer Rose Tremain. Tremain who is known for writing both historical novels and short stories was reportedly influenced by William Golding’s Lord of the Flies and Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s 100 years of solitude, as well as the magical realism style of writing. In 2013, Tremain was appointed Chancellor of the University of East Anglia where she has previously lectured in Creative Writing from 1988 to 1995. In 2007, Rose Tremain was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE), and in 2020’s New Year’s Honours List she was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) for services to writing.