New Year Honours: Rod Stewart sails into a CBE at the age of 61

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The Independent Culture

The rock singer Rod Stewart, the travel writer and novelist Colin Thubron and the actor Hugh Laurie are among arts and entertainment stars recognised this year.

Top honours go to Michael Holroyd, the biographer of George Bernard Shaw and Lytton Strachey, and to George Shearing, the blind jazz pianist, who are knighted. Evelyn Glynnie, who overcame deafness to become a renowned orchestral percussionist, becomes a dame. Stewart, who turns 62 on 10 January, was appointed a CBE - listed under his full name of Roderick David Stewart - as has Thubron, whose most recent book was Shadow of the Silk Road.

Other CBEs go to Peter Greenaway, director of films including The Draughtsman's Contract, Terry Hands, former head of the Royal Shakespeare Company, John Rutter, the composer particularly famed for his carols, and Alexander McCall Smith, author of The No1 Ladies' Detective Agency series.

Penelope Keith, the Good Life actress, is made a CBE for her services to charity, including the Actors' Benevolent Fund, and the Shakepearean actor John Wood, who is 77 on New Year's Day, is honoured for decades of award-winning performances.

Others appointed a CBE are Imogen Cooper, pianist, Norman Ackroyd, a Royal Academician known for his engraving and printing, the Scottish artist Richard Demarco, Hilary Spurling, the award-winning biographer of Matisse, and Kevin Cahill, the chief executive of Comic Relief.

Hugh Laurie, who starred with Stephen Fry in many British comedies but has found new fame in America with the television series House, is made an OBE as is Sally Greene, who persuaded the Hollywood star Kevin Spacey to become artistic director of the Old Vic which she runs.

There are also OBEs for Steven Pimlott, the theatre and opera director who was treated for cancer this year, Mike Salisbury, the former executive director of the BBC's Natural History Unit who worked on classic series including Life on Earth, and Richard Verdi, the professor who runs the Barber Institute of Fine Arts in Birmingham.

Johnny Briggs, 71, the actor who recently bowed out of Coronation Street after 30 years, is rewarded with an MBE.