‘I literally forgot about it’ - Norfolk author made dame in Queen’s Birthday Honours

PUBLISHED: 06:30 15 October 2020

Author Susan Hill who has been made a Dame in the Quen's Birthday Honours. Photo: Bill Smith

Author Susan Hill who has been made a Dame in the Quen's Birthday Honours. Photo: Bill Smith

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A Norfolk author whose work has been adapted for the stage and screen has been made a Dame in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Dame Susan Hill. Photo: Bill Smith for EDPDame Susan Hill. Photo: Bill Smith for EDP

Susan Hill, whose ghost story, The Woman in Black, has been made into a West End play and film staring Daniel Radcliffe, has been made a Dame for services to literature.

The novelist, who lives near Holt in North Norfolk, said it was “very nice” to receive the honour, the news of which she shared with her daughters by simply sending them a clip of the song ‘There’s nothing like a Dame’ from South Pacific.

Dame Susan, who was previously made a CBE said the last time she received an honour she was notified by post, however the coronavirus pandemic had meant this time she had simply received an email.

She said: “I opened [the email] rather casually and then thought ‘oh’, I was a bit taken aback because obviously I was surprised and the last time it was a letter.”

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The 78-year-old said after receiving the news in May, she had all but forgotten about the honour.

She said: “You haven’t got to tell anybody, so I just didn’t tell anybody... I literally forgot about it after a couple of weeks, then I was reading the news and it said they were going to announce the birthday honours on October 10 and this was on the first of October and I thought ‘my goodness’.

“It sounds crazy, but when you’ve been told not to say anything, it goes out of your head.”

Dame Susan said she would save celebrating the honour until she had the been to the investiture, but was delighted by it not just personally but for writers and literature in general.

“It’s a bit surreal also it’s not the worlds best word, you immediately think of pantomime dame,” she said.

“The nice thing always about these things, is that it’s not just for you, it’s for your profession, whatever that happens to be, just as it’s good for actors and doctors or whatever it happens to be, it’s very good for writers, and writing, books and reading and it’s acknowledging our area of life and it’s significant.”

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