New Year Honours 2019: Philip Pullman receives knighthood

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Philip Pullman in OxfordImage source, PA
Image caption,
Philip Pullman has been recognised in the New Year Honours for his services to literature

Author Philip Pullman has said he is "very surprised and honoured" after being awarded a knighthood.

The Oxford-based writer of the His Dark Materials trilogy has been recognised in the New Year Honours for his services to literature.

Pullman, 72, said he was "proud" to be in the company of many people he admired.

Pullman, who studied English at Exeter College, Oxford, is in the middle of writing a new trilogy of novels.

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 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."

An adaptation of The Golden Compass from the original trilogy was made into a film in 2007, starring Daniel Craig and Nicole Kidman as Lord Asriel and Mrs Coulter.

A BBC adaptation is being filmed, with those roles played by James McAvoy and Ruth Wilson.

Elsewhere in Oxfordshire, Prof Jeremy James Farrar, director of the The Wellcome Trust, was also made a knight.

Prof Jane Armitage, a clinical trials and epidemiology academic at the University of Oxford, was appointed OBE for services to medical research.

And Chris Kingsley, co-founder of comic book publisher and game developer Rebellion, was appointed OBE for services to the economy.

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