PROFESSOR Stanley Wells, one of the world’s foremost Shakespearians, has been awarded the British Academy’s President’s Medal.
Designed to reward outstanding service to the cause of the humanities and social sciences, it covers a broad range of criteria, including insightful journalism contributing to public understanding, use of research in policy making, and public leadership.
The honour has been bestowed on Professor Wells in recognition of his services to Shakespeare scholarship – including an association of over 40 years with the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust – as well as his important role in Britain’s cultural life.
Joining Sir Stanley as 2016 winners are bestselling author and acclaimed historian Dame Hilary Mantel, former Keeper of the Department of Prehistory and Europe at the British Museum, Dr Roger Bland, and Dr Leofranc Holford-Strevens, who held the positions of proof-reader, copy editor and consultant scholar editor at Oxford University Press from 1971 until his retirement in 2011.
It has been a successful year for Professor Wells, who was awarded a knighthood in the Queen’s 90th Birthday Honours list back in June.
His distinguished career with the Trust began in 1975 as representative trustee of the University of Birmingham, later becoming a Life Trustee and Chairman, and in 2011 he became the Trust’s first Honorary President.
He is also Emeritus Professor of Shakespeare Studies of the University of Birmingham, former Vice-Chairman and now Honorary Emeritus Governor of the Royal Shakespeare Company, Trustee of the Rose Theatre, and a member of the Council of Shakespeare’s Globe.
A prolific and successful writer, speaker and broadcaster, Professor Wells is General Editor of the Oxford and Penguin editions of Shakespeare and has written and edited numerous books and other publications on Shakespeare’s life and works.
The leading voice of Shakespeare studies, he speaks at numerous conferences and other events, sharing his passion for Shakespeare all over the world.
Professor Wells said: “I am delighted to receive this award from Britain’s most august academic institution with which I have been associated for many years.
“I feel myself most fortunate in having been able to spend so much of my life in the company of Shakespeare and of those who admire and enjoy his works.
“Throughout my career as teacher and scholar I have enjoyed and benefited enormously from collaborating with fellow scholars from all over the world, and I hope they will share my pleasure in receiving this award.”