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The British Bangladeshi baker and writer Nadiya Hussain received an MBE (Member of the British Empire) in the UK’s New Year’s Honours List which recognises contribution and achievement. She joins the novelist and short story writer Rose Tremain, who made a Dame, the literary agent Felicity Bryan who also received an MBE, and the Scottish poet and novelist Jackie Kay – the Scottish ‘makar’ or national poet – who received a CBE (Companion of the British Empire).
Hussain is the author of eight cookery books (four for children) which followed from the celebrity status she acquired when she won the very popular British TV series Great British Bake Off in 2015. She has also written a children’s book, a novel and a memoir which talked about her Muslim faith. She is now at work on a second novel.
The Honour’s list dates back to 1890 and is run by a series of committees comprising senior civil servants and independent members who are prominent in their field. Members of the public can nominate people. The Arts Committee includes the literary agent and chair of the Hay Literary Festival Caroline Michel.
On hearing she had been picked Hussain said: “Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine this would happen to me. I know my grandparents would be really proud. They wouldn’t understand what was going on or what it means, but they would be proud none the less….Little old rice farmers family in the middle of nowhere with a granddaughter with an MBE!”
The recipients will receive their honours from the Queen at a ceremony at Buckingham Palace in January.