Children's author Philip Pullman has been formally made a CBE by the Queen at Buckingham Palace.
Pullman was a teacher before he became a full-time writer
The writer, who has been accused of being anti-Christian, paid tribute to the Archbishop of Canterbury who said his books should be part of RE classes.
"The Archbishop is a brave man. I'm happy to agree with him. My quarrel is with the fundamentalists who want to shut down debate," he said.
Pullman criticises organised religion in novels such as The Amber Spyglass.
"Dr Williams has put his foot into hot water with his own evangelicals," he added.
Penelope Wilton, who starred in the hit film Calendar Girls last year, was awarded with an OBE for services to drama.
Wilton also appeared in TV series Ever Decreasing Circles
"I was the shy one who posed nude with a watering can.
But at my age I don't think I ought to do any more of that now," she said.
The Scarborough-born actress also appeared in the biopic Iris alongside Dame Judi Dench, Jim Broadbent and Kate Winslet in 2001.
But she said theatre was her first love.
"Theatre is the thing that I've done most of in my life. It's the most challenging and disciplined - and the most pure - of the acting modes. However,
it pays the least."
Welsh singer Iris Williams was presented with an OBE for services to music
Ballet dancer Donald MacLeary was awarded an OBE and composer Debbie Wiseman received an MBE for services to the film industry.