Novelist Anthony Horowitz has called for a library in every school and praised the Queen Consort’s literary campaigning after he picked up a CBE at Windsor Castle on Wednesday.
Mr Horowitz, who has written more than 40 books including the Alex Rider teen spy series, was made a CBE for services to literature.
He said his visit to the “fantastical” Windsor Castle will “definitely” inspire further writing and used the occasion to call for more investment in school libraries.
He told the PA news agency: “In my view, and I’ve said this many times, we need more money invested in school libraries, more time spent giving children opportunities to read, there should be a librarian in every single secondary school in the country.
“I’m a great believer in shared reading and silent reading, the syllabus is very crowded, there needs to be room within it for children to actually learn the enjoyment of books, not to study them, not to have to do them for homework, but actually to understand the joy that comes with reading.”
On the investiture ceremony, Mr Horowitz, whose works include the mystery novel Magpie Murders, added: “The King seemed to be in a very cheery mood, great to see him.
“Years ago I got my OBE from him as the Prince of Wales and so now here I am receiving the CBE from the King, which is sort of the passage of time.
“He asked me about what I was writing, of course, I mentioned there were more murders on the way, which seemed to amuse him.
“We discussed the room itself, of course, which I had visited: very kindly the Queen Consort had arranged a visit to the library at Windsor and we discussed that visit.
“Her work, of course, aligns very much with mine because her work for the National Literacy Trust and for our literacy charities is exemplary, and her reading club I’ve been involved with and been interviewed for, and so I’ve met both the King and Queen Consort on many occasions as a result of that, and so we discussed that work.
“I may have said how important it now is, literacy is more important than it has ever been in a way with declining literary standards in the country.”
A Department for Education spokesperson said: “We share this ambition and that is why we are investing £24 million in building children’s literacy skills as part of our ambition for 90% of children to leave primary school reaching the expected standard in reading, writing and maths by 2030.
“We want all children to have the opportunity to read widely both in and out of school, and individual schools will decide how best to provide and maintain access to books for their pupils.”