Outlander author Diana Gabaldon ‘very honoured’ with honorary degree from Scottish university
The historical fiction writer, who has had a runaway global success with his Outlander series set partly in the Highlands, received a Doctor of Letters degree from the University of Glasgow in a ceremony on Tuesday afternoon.
Dr Gabaldon, who also has a doctorate in science, said his novels, which revolve around the fate of a Highland Jacobite and his English wife, meant a lot.
The writer said: “I am very honored to have received this degree, especially from such an old and venerable institution. It means a lot to me that my work, which is based on Scottish history, is recognized by one of Scotland’s leading academic institutions.
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Dr Gabaldon added: “I’ve had some rather silly people ask me at times if I don’t feel like I’m committing cultural appropriation by using Scottish history as a backdrop (and a lot plot) of my novels.
“To which I reply that I actually think the Scots have taken ownership of me, which is very nice of them.”
Outlander books are published in 38 languages and sold in 114 countries, with the series generating a huge international fandom.
The adventure began in 1991 with the classic Outlander and has continued through eight other international bestselling novels in the series so far.
The novels include time travel elements after key character Claire Beauchamp passes through a stone circle near Inverness and is transported to the Highlands as the Battle of Culloden approaches and meets and falls in love with her future husband Jamie Fraser.
The books’ initial popularity increased when the story was made into a television series by Sony and Starz, with the first episode airing in 2014.
Biffy Clyro frontman Simon Neil separately described receiving his own honorary degree as “the stuff of dreams”.
The tattooed rocker, from Irvine in North Ayrshire, is receiving a Doctor of Letters (DLitt) degree from Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU), acknowledging his “continuing inspiration for all creative people around the world”.
The Deacon Blue singer and fellow Scottish musician Ricky Ross will receive the same honor from the university for his contributions to music and culture.
Speaking before receiving his degree, Neil said: “Receiving this doctorate is an honor I could never have expected.
“Having him in Glasgow, a city that has featured so long and with so much support in the band’s history, is a dream come true.
“I am also proud to be linked to such a forward-thinking institution as Glasgow Caledonian University, and I accept this honor with gratitude and respect.”
Glasgow Caledonian University will also award former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard a Doctor of Laws in recognition of her outstanding commitment to advancing gender equality and access to education.
The writer Bernardine Evaristo, author of Girl, woman, other, will receive a doctorate of letters for her contribution to literature and human rights.
Glasgow Caledonian Principal and Vice-Chancellor Professor Pamela Gillies said the awards gave the university “the opportunity to welcome distinguished personalities into our GCU family as honorary graduates”.
The degrees will be awarded at ceremonies at the university next month.