Outlander author Diana Gabaldon 'very honoured' with honorary degree from Scots university

Outlander author Diana Gabaldon has collected an honorary degree for services to literature – and said she was “very honoured” to pick up the accolade from a Scots university.

The historical fiction writer, who has had runaway global success with her Outlander series partly set in the Highlands, received a Doctorate of Letters from Glasgow University at a ceremony on Tuesday afternoon.

Dr Gabaldon, who also has a science PhD, said having her novels, which revolve around the fate of a Highland Jacobite and his English wife, meant a great deal.

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The writer said: “I'm very honoured to have been awarded this degree, particularly from such an ancient and venerable institution. It means a great deal to me, to have my work, which is based on Scottish history, recognised by one of the foremost academic institutions of Scotland.”

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Dr Gabaldon added: “I occasionally have had rather silly people ask if I don't feel I am committing cultural appropriation by using Scottish history as the background (and a good bit of the plot) of my novels.

"To which I reply that I actually think the Scots have appropriated me, which is very nice of them.”

The Outlander books are published in 38 languages and sold in 114 countries, with the series generating a huge international fandom.

Dr Diana Gabaldon collects her honorary degreeDr Diana Gabaldon collects her honorary degree
Dr Diana Gabaldon collects her honorary degree

The adventure began in 1991 with the classic Outlander and has continued through eight more internationally best-selling novels in the series so far.

The novels include elements of time travel after key character Claire Beauchamp steps through a stone circle near Inverness and is transported to the Highlands in the run up to the Battle of Culloden and meets and falls in love with her future husband Jamie Fraser.

The initial popularity of the books surged 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 being awarded his own honorary degree as “the stuff of dreams”.

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The tattooed rocker, from Irvine in North Ayrshire, is being awarded a doctor of letters (DLitt) from Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU), recognising his “continued inspiration to all creatives the world over”.

Deacon Blue singer and fellow Scottish musician Ricky Ross will receive the same honour from the university for his contribution to music and culture.

Speaking ahead of receiving his degree, Neil said: “To receive this doctorate is an honour I could never have expected.

“To receive it in Glasgow, a city which has featured so long and so supportively in the band’s story, is the stuff of dreams.

“I am also proud to be connected to such a forward-thinking an institution as Glasgow Caledonian University, and accept this honour 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 the advancement of gender equality and access to education.

Writer Bernardine Evaristo, the author of Girl, Woman, Other, will receive a doctor of letters for her contribution to literature and human rights.

Professor Pamela Gillies, Glasgow Caledonian principal and vice-chancellor, said the awards gave the university “the opportunity to welcome distinguished individuals into our GCU family as honorary graduates”.

The degrees will be presented in ceremonies at the university next month.

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