Oxford Brookes Honorary Graduates for 2014 announced

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Hilary Mantel

Novelist Hilary Mantel, campaigner for human rights Baroness Lawrence, and Olympic gold medallist, Dr Katherine Grainger are to receive honorary degrees at Oxford Brookes University's graduations this month.

Further recipients include Joanna Simons, Chief Executive of Oxfordshire County Council, Jonathan Douglas, Director of the National Literacy Trust, Bahram Bekhradnia, President of the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) and David Levin, Chairman of Capital Group.

Writer Hilary Mantel CBE won her first Booker Prize for the 2009 novel, Wolf Hall, a fictional account of life in the court of Henry VIII. She won her second for the 2012 sequel, Bring Up the Bodies and is the first woman to receive the award twice.

Oxford Brookes became the permanent home of the Booker Prize Archive in 2003. The archive is soon to move to the impressive library in the John Henry Brookes Building, Headington, which opened earlier this year.

Hilary Mantel said: "I am looking forward to receiving an honorary degree from Oxford Brookes.

"As home to the Booker Prize Archive and an excellent Creative Writing MA course, the University is a custodian of contemporary fiction while at the same time inspiring a new generation of novelists.

"Education fires the imagination, instils self-belief and provides a strong work ethic – all important traits whatever one chooses to do in life, but particularly vital for authors!"

Baroness Lawrence of Clarendon OBE is a leading figure in the field of human rights, with an extensive record of influencing government policy and driving change. She is a Director of the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust, which she set up in 1998. She was elevated as a life peer to the House of Lords in 2013.

Baroness Lawrence said: "Oxford Brookes was founded on strong values that continue to be instilled in its students today. One of these is the importance of social justice. Education is key in creating individuals who campaign for a fairer and more open society.

"I am looking forward to visiting Brookes and meeting staff and students who are driven by their values as much as by their pursuit of educational excellence."

Dr Katherine Grainger CBE won three Olympic silver rowing medals in Sydney, Athens and Beijing and in 2012 she won the Olympic gold with Anna Watkins in the double scull. Katherine is the only British female athlete from any sport to win medals in four consecutive Olympic Games. She has recently been involved in Oxford Brookes' Social Entrepreneurs Awards Programme.

Joanna Simons CBE is a former Chair of Governors at the University and is Chief Executive of Oxfordshire County Council.

As Director of the charity National Literacy Trust, Jonathan Douglas leads programmes which improve social justice by raising literacy levels – working at the heart of deprived communities.

Bahram Bekhradnia has worked in education policy for more than 40 years as a civil servant, a director of the Higher Education Funding Council for England and as the Director and now President of higher education think tank, HEPI.

David Levin is owner and Chairman of London's Capital Group which incorporates Levin Wines, the London Bakery, the Capital Hotel and the Levin Hotel.

Professor Janet Beer, Oxford Brookes' Vice Chancellor said: "Each of this year's recipients for an honorary degree is an exceptional role model for our students.

"Baroness Lawrence campaigns tirelessly for justice and for strong community relations.

"Hilary Mantel's award-winning novels have been enjoyed by millions of readers. As Brookes is home to the Booker Prize Archive it will be a great honour to welcome the only woman writer to win the prize twice to our new library.

"And as the University boasts an elite rowing squad, which has trained four Olympic Gold medallists in the sport since 2000, I am also very pleased we will be presenting Katherine Grainger with an honorary degree."


Photo: Janie Airey