Authors are recognised in the honours

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Best-selling author Hilary Mantel, who has been made a dame for services to literature, said the honour will spur her on with future works.

The writer, whose novels about the life of King Henry VIII’s adviser Thomas Cromwell have been critical and commercial hits, already has a CBE.

She said: “I’m delighted to receive this honour. It’s given for ‘services to literature,’ but I see it not so much as a reward for the past, more as encouragement for the future. It means a great deal to have my efforts recognised, especially as I feel I’ve come to a new phase in my creative life.

Fellow author Hunter Davies, who wrote the only authorised biography of the Beatles in 1968, said he thought he was getting a tax demand when the letter notifying him of his OBE arrived.

He said: “I have been to the palace once before.

“My brother-in-law Roger Priestley got an OBE, he was a senior civil servant but had MS and had trouble getting around so he was allowed a driver and so I dressed up as a chauffeur and drove him in, then went and sat in a little hut with all the famous people’s drivers.”

The 78-year-old is the author of more than 70 books.