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Stroud writer Jamila Gavin has been awarded an MBE for services to Children’s Literature.

A director of Stroud Book Festival, she has written over 40 novels and short stories spanning 40 years, with her most recent work telling the story of how India contributed to Britain’s efforts in World War One.

On the award in the King’s Birthday Honours, Ms Gavin told Stroud Times of her “amazement” after thinking she had been handed a parking fine when the morning post dropped through her letterbox: “I honestly groaned at the sight of an official letter, thinking I was being fined for driving into a bus lane.

“My considered reaction, especially when I saw it was a letter from the Cabinet Office, informing me I had been awarded an MBE,  was one of amazement. I’ve been a writer since my first book was published in 1979, but I was never a main stream best seller.

“I have won prizes and awards – my main one being the Whitbread Children’s Book of the Year 2000 – but I was never one who was up there with the best-sellers. I did know my books were greatly valued, mainly because my whole agenda for writing was to reflect the diversity and multiculturalism of Britain, not just contemporary, but reflected in the shared history of the past. It was always inspiring to know how much that was valued in my writing.

“I was equally proud to have been made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature a few years ago. But this was different – I suppose because it is a recognition by the country, for what they have called “Services to Children’s Literature,”  and I felt extremely honoured.”

Caroline Sanderson, programme director of Stroud Book Festival paid tribute to the Stroud writer, she said: “Jamila has been creating wonderful books for children and young people for more than 40 years so this honour is richly deserved. And in her role as a director of Stroud Book Festival, we are so lucky to be able to call on her wisdom and experience. We send her our heartfelt congratulations.”

Poet and writer Adam Horovitz said: “Jamila’s body of work is immensely impressive, far reaching and deserving of recognition. Here’s to her next books.”

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