The Principal and Vice-Chancellor of RGU Professor John Harper conferred the award at the university’s graduation ceremony this week in recognition of Mrs Cleeves’ contribution to the world of literature and crime writing.
Ann has written over 30 books including the best-selling Shetland and Vera Stanhope novels. There has been eight series of Vera on ITV starring Brenda Blethyn, and the Shetland series, starring Douglas Henshall as Jimmy Perez, has proved equally popular.
Ann was born in Herefordshire and grew up in North Devon. After a varied career as a childcare officer, a woman’s refuge leader, a bird observatory cook and probation officer, she began writing.
Ann’s first novel A Bird in the Hand was published in 1986 and she has since gone on to achieve great recognition for her work. She was the first winner of the Duncan Lawrie Dagger Award of the Crime Writers’ Association, the richest crime-writing prize in the world for her novel Raven Black.
More awards and critical acclaim followed and in 2012 she was admitted into the Crime Thriller Hall of Fame. She was also the recipient of Iceland Noir's Award for Services to the Art of Crime Fiction and, in 2017, she was presented with the Crime Writers’ Association’s highest award the Diamond Dagger.
She is a champion of reading, literacy and libraries. She has been reader-in-residence at Cheltenham Literature Festival and in a number of libraries and, in 2016, was Ambassador for National Libraries Day. She also set up reading groups in prisons through the ‘Inside Books’ project.
Principal at RGU, Professor John Harper said: “Ann is a hugely respected and admired author and I am delighted that RGU is honouring her for her contribution to the world of literature and crime writing.
“Ann has made highly significant contributions in her field which I’m sure will inspire our graduates as they celebrate their success and embark on their careers.”