Former Durham University Chancellor Bill Bryson was officially declared a National Treasure by the Association for the Promotion of Increasing Literacy this morning. He joins Sir David Attenborough, Mary Berry, and Jaffa Cakes, all of whom have also received the award in the past decade.
The awarding-winning author told Palatinate: “This is the greatest honour that has ever been paid to me that didn’t involve money.”
Following the announcement, the Bill Bryson Library, known affectionately as “the Billy B”, was declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO. This is in recognition of its unique and impressive architectural style, as well as in honour of its eponymous writer.
In response, the former Chancellor added: “I was rather hoping to be named a UNESCO World Heritage site myself, but this is clearly the next best thing.”
The Billy B joins Durham Cathedral and Castle, listed as one site, on UNESCO’s list. As a result, the city now contains two of the UK’s 33 World Heritage Sites, more than Northern Ireland.
National Treasure Bryson was the Chancellor of Durham University from 2005 to 2011, an OBE recipient, and the author of 21 books.
He has previously declared to Palatinate: “Durham is my favourite place in the whole world – this is the only place where they call me ‘Doctor’ and name buildings after me”.
Image: National Churches Trust via Flickr