I’m delighted to say that after a recent string of awards for which I have been shortlisted but haven’t won, today I am a winner at last! I am receiving an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Brighton — conferring on me the title Doctor Of Letters. The press release below gives you the full details.

This is undoubtedly the greatest honour of my life — and it means all the more coming from the home university of the city I was born in, and write about and love so much. I shall be receiving it with extra special glee, as my past academic record has been — well — erm — less than brilliant…. I left Charterhouse in a cloud of ignominy (and hashish smoke) having failed all my science ‘O’ Level exams — Physics, Chemistry and Biology, only getting my maths ‘O Level’ at the third attempt, and just having scraped through with three ‘A’ Levels all with the lowest Grade you can have — an ‘E’. So I guess I am a living example of my hero Oscar Wilde’s dictum, “Nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.” !!!!

I’m sad that neither of my parents are still alive to see this. My late father was a very wise man who once told me, when I was trying to make up my mind whether after Charterhouse to go to a tutorial college and try to swat up for Oxford University Entrance, or to go to film school, that of all the colleges in the world, none would teach you as much as the University of Life. I’ll raise a glass to you on that today, Dad.

Here’s the press release:
Bestselling crime writer Peter James is to receive an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Brighton The award-winning writer and film producer, Peter James, is to become a Doctor of Letters in recognition of his ongoing contribution to the arts and to the status, infrastructure and culture of Brighton and Hove.

Peter, who lives near Lewes, East Sussex, will receive his doctorate from Deputy Vice-Chancellor, David House, on Thursday, July 30, during graduation ceremonies at the Brighton Dome.

Peter, who is 60, said: “I’m really thrilled to be honoured by the university. It has given me an incredible feeling, although I must confess I’m not sure if I deserve it. I was born in Brighton and this has enhanced an already strong bond and love I have for the city.”

Peter’s publishers Pan Macmillan has agreed to sponsor two academic excellence scholarships, The Peter James Scholarship, to be awarded to the best first and best second year undergraduate students on the BA (Hons) English Language and Literature degree courses for the academic year 2008-09. Geoff Duffield, Group Sales and Marketing Manager for Pan Macmillan, said: “Pan Macmillan is delighted to be sponsoring the Peter James scholarships at the University of Brighton.

“Our sponsorship brings together two great Brighton institutions, both of which are at the heart of the community.”

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, David House, said: “We are delighted and grateful to Pan Macmillan for supporting the university in this way. “We are strongly committed to our work in English language and literature and these scholarships, I am sure, will enhance our reputation and provide an incentive and reward to students of excellence.”