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Thursday, 22 June, 2000, 17:02 GMT 18:02 UK
Degree for Harry Potter author
JK Rowling
JK Rowling: Two honours in less than a week
Best-selling children's author JK Rowling has been awarded an honorary degree by St Andrews University.

The creator of the Harry Potter novels was made a Doctor of Letters by the Scottish university on Thursday.

The honour is the second in less than a week for the Edinburgh-based millionaire writer.

She received an OBE in the Queen's birthday honours last Saturday for her services to children's literature.

At the degree ceremony, the university's director of external relations, Sue Cunningham, described Rowling as a "warm and unpretentious person" who was remarkably surprised and pleased at Harry Potter's popularity.

JK Rowling in degree robes
JK Rowling: "Delighted" by honour

The Harry Potter series, about a schoolboy wizard, had started life when Rowling was day-dreaming on a train journey to London.

The first drafts had been written when the author was a penniless single mother who scribbled away in cafes to save on heating in her tiny flat.

Ms Cunningham said: "Jo Rowling has shown that children's books are still capable of capturing and enchanting an immense audience, irrespective of the competing attractions of television, Nintendo, Gameboy and Pokémon.

"At a time when dire predictions were being made for the future of books, children are rediscovering the pure joy of reading."

Record orders

Rowling received her honorary degree from the university's chancellor, Sir Kenneth Dover.

After the ceremony, she said she was "delighted" to have been honoured.

Rowling's books have been translated into 28 languages and at one point she took the top three slots on the US best-seller list.

The fourth book in the Harry Potter series is being launched on 8 July.

It has already accumulated the largest number of orders for an unpublished book in British history with a print run of one million copies in hardback.

Its title and contents have been kept secret. Only four people at the publishers, Bloomsbury, have been permitted to see the manuscript.

The series is also preparing to make its debut in the movie world, with Warner Brothers due to start filming later this year.

Other degrees

Rowling's honorary degree is among a number being awarded by St Andrews this week.

The other recipients include another author, Ian Rankin, who is also being made a Doctor of Letters.

Next month, the university will award honorary degrees to top golfers Seve Ballesteros and Colin Montgomerie.

They will both receive a Doctor of Laws degree.

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See also:

16 Jun 00 | Scotland
Scots honoured
01 Dec 99 | Entertainment
Potter's award hat-trick
20 Jun 00 | Entertainment
Coltrane in line for Potter film
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