Sebastian Faulks among honorary graduates at University of Herts

BIRDSONG author Sebastian Faulks was at St Albans Abbey last week to receive an award in recognition of his contribution to literature, literary criticism and research.

He was one of 15 “pillars of the community” to receive Honorary Degrees and Fellowships for outstanding contribution to academic disciplines, charity, professions or public service, at the University of Hertfordshire’s graduation ceremony.

Sebastian joined more than 4,500 new graduates celebrating academic success at the week-long ceremony during which James Bond legend Sir Roger Moore also received an honorary doctorate.

The best-selling author received an Honorary Doctor of Letters. The writer, who had his heart set on being a novelist from the age of 14, is best known for his best-selling novel Birdsong, of which more than three million copies have been sold.

Sebastian said he was delighted with the doctorate as one of the university’s lecturers had written dramatic adaptations of two of his books for stage and radio.

The university also awarded Commander Sarah West an Honorary Doctor of Science for outstanding achievement in becoming the first woman to command a major warship in the 500-year history of the Royal Navy.

Earlier this year senior naval officer Sarah was selected to take control of the Plymouth-based HMS Portland, a Type 23 frigate.

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Before joining the Navy in 1995, Sarah studied mathematics at the University of Hertfordshire, where she graduated with first-class honours.

Award-winning designer Sebastian Conran received an Honorary Doctor of Arts for outstanding work in the promotion and support of the creative industries.

His name is behind thousands of products and he shares his knowledge through teaching and lecturing.

In 1981 Sebastian joined Mothercare as chief designer of the company’s non-clothing merchandise, where he began making a “serious name” for himself transforming the appearance and performance of childcare equipment such as toys and pushchairs.

He now has an independent company.