Late British novelist Martin Amis knighted by King Charles in his first birthday honors list

Martin Amis, one of the most consequential British authors of his generation and who died last month, has been posthumously knighted by King Charles III in his first birthday honors list, which were unveiled late Friday

Pan Pylas
Friday 16 June 2023 22:30 BST

Martin Amis, one of the most consequential British authors of his generation and who died last month, has been knighted by King Charles III in his first birthday honors list, which were unveiled late Friday.

Amis, who died of esophageal cancer at the age of 73 at his Florida home, accepted the knighthood for services to literature shortly before he died . His knighthood, according to the honors list, stands from May 18, the day before he died.

The knighthood for the author of “Money,” a satire about consumerism in London, comes 33 years after his comic novelist father, Kingsley, received the honor from Charles's mother, the late Queen Elizabeth II.

Martin Amis' great literary friend, Ian McEwan, was also made a Companion of Honor, one of the highest honors that can be bestowed by the king, who ascended to the throne last September after the queen died.

McEwan, the author of “Amsterdam” and “Atonement,” said the honor came as “a complete surprise” and amounted to “a really good review.”

Also joining the order are Vogue's editor-in-chief Anna Wintour and Professor John Bell for his services to medicine and medical research.

Introduced in 1917 by Charles's great-grandfather King George V, the award recognizes people who have made “a major contribution to the arts, science, medicine, or government lasting over a long period of time.” There can only be a maximum of 65 recipients at any time. Current members include environmentalist David Attenborough, singer-songwriter Elton John and Canadian author Margaret Atwood.

Other household names to be rewarded include the former Arsenal soccer player turned pundit Ian Wright, who was handed the Order of the British Empire, or OBE, for services to his sport as well as for his charitable activities. Davina McCall, host of many staple reality programs on British television over the past couple of decades, including “Big Brother,” becomes a member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, or MBE.

Richard Moore, chief of the MI6 overseas intelligence agency, has also been knighted, for his “outstanding contribution” to British foreign policy and national security, leading the organization during “an exceptionally challenging period" following Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Terry Waite, who was held hostage in Lebanon for nearly five years until late 1991, was also knighted for his services to charity.

The honors don't just reward people in the public eye. More than half, 52%, of the 1,171 recipients are people who performed “outstanding work” in their communities, either in a voluntary or paid capacity, which was a core focus behind this year’s list, according to those behind the selection process.

Exactly half of the recipients are women, down slightly from last year's 51.5%. Still, women accounted for at least half of the Birthday Honors list for the third year in a row.

The oldest recipient, 106-year-old Joan Willett, was given a British Empire Medal for her charitable fundraising for the British Heart Foundation, while the youngest, Junior Jay Frood, 18, received the same honor for services to vulnerable children.

“It feels really amazing and good because it shows no matter how young you are you can receive this award," Frood said.

Some 11% of the awards went to people from an ethnic minority background. Though down from last year's equivalent 13.3%, it's still higher than the level during the 2010s. The proportion of recipients who are disabled or have a long-term health condition was 13%, up from 9.3% last year.

“Our honors system has long been a way of recognizing people who make an incredible contribution to life in Britain and beyond," said deputy prime minister Oliver Dowden.

British honors are also awarded at New Year’s and when prime ministers leave office. Last week's list from former prime minister Boris Johnson drew cries of cronyism from opponents of the ousted leader as they rewarded dozens of his loyal aides and allies with knighthoods and other honors.

The recipients are actually chosen by civil servants committees based on nominations from the government and the public. The awards are usually given out by the monarch or a senior royal acting in his place during investitures at Buckingham Palace.

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