The Chair of the Shell Chester Literature Festival, Bill Hughes, has been awarded an Honorary Fellowship in English by the University of Chester, in recognition of his 34 years of service to the institution.
Bill, who retired from the University last year, is centrally involved in the cultural life of the city. As well as being in his third year as Chair of the Literature Festival, which gets underway today, Bill is Vice-Chair of Chester Performs, and sits on the Board of the Chester Summer Music Festival.
He is also well known as a performer and director. He co-founded Chester Lyric Ensemble, and has worked with groups such as Chester Bach Singers, Chester Music Society and Liverpool Metropolitan Opera.
Prior to his retirement, Bill worked for 34 years in the University’s English Department, where he was Principal Lecturer.
He said: “The University’s award of an Honorary Fellowship is a considerable privilege, particularly a Fellowship in English, in which distinguished Department I spent most of my working life. I’m delighted that my association with the University, and the Department, has now been made a permanent one.”
The University’s Dean of Humanities, Professor Chris Walsh, was Head of English in the last few years that Bill taught in the Department. Speaking about Bill’s ‘extraordinary contribution’, he said: “He was a truly inspirational teacher, held in the highest regard by his fellow lecturers, and was enormously popular with the students.
“There's no doubt that Bill's teaching played a major part in helping the Department achieve its 'excellent' rating when its work was inspected nationally. In more than 30 years in Higher Education, I have to say that Bill is one of the best two or three teachers it has been my privilege to watch and to work alongside.
“He was a joy to work with, and his Honorary Fellowship is richly deserved.”
During his time at the University, Bill established the Autumn Festival, a programme of events hosted by the University as part of the Chester Literature Festival. He was also integral to the establishment of the High Sheriff’s Cheshire Prize for Literature, which has its Awards Evening during the Festival.
The Shell Chester Literature Festival is one of the biggest events of its kind in the North of England. It takes place this year between October 6 and 30, and guest speakers include Chris Patten, Esther Rantzen, David Owen, Michael Morpurgo, Martin Bell, Nicholas Crane and Ffion Hague.
For more information, visit www.chesterfestivals.co.uk or call the Box Office on 01244 304618.