Writer Philip Pullman said he was delighted to be chosen for an honorary degree by his Alma Mater, the University of Oxford.

The author of the His Dark Materials trilogy has collected a stack of awards over the years.

But he told the Oxford Mail he never expected to receive an honour from the university where he studied English in the late 1960s.

He said: “Two years ago, I was given the Freedom of the City, so now I have been given one award by the city and one by the university.

“I never expected my Alma Mater to give me an honorary degree, and it is something I shall be very proud of.

“Oxford Brookes awarded me an honorary degree a couple of years ago, and I have also been given them by the University of East Anglia and Dundee University.”

Mr Pullman, who lives near Oxford, last year backed a campaign to save the former Castle Mill boatyard in Jericho from the bulldozers.

The campaign was a success, and developers have now agreed to negotiate with the residents’ group which wants to buy the site.

Mr Pullman graduated in 1968 after completing a degree in English language and literature at Exeter College.

He added: “I think the English syllabus in those days ended in 1900 — we didn’t reach the 20th century at all. Milton was a favourite, and I read a large number of books that I would not have read otherwise.

“I’m now also an honorary professor at Bangor in North Wales, which is a very good university.”

Many of Mr Pullman’s books are popular with children and teenagers and he has won numerous literary awards.

These include the Carnegie medal and the Whitbread Prize, which he won for The Amber Spyglass, the third novel in the His Dark Materials trilogy.

A former schoolteacher, he taught in Oxford schools and at Westminster College, before embarking on a full-time writing career.

The His Dark Materials trilogy from the mid-1990s sold across the globe, and the first book, Northern Lights, was adapted for the big screen.

The film, called The Golden Compass, starred Daniel Craig and Nicole Kidman, and won an Oscar for its visual effects.

But controversy surrounded its perceived anti-Catholic message and the sequel, a film version of The Subtle Knife, is now in doubt.

Mr Pullman is working on a sequel to the His Dark Materials trilogy and said his writing projects were progressing well.

He is also scripting a comic strip called John Blake for the Oxford-based comic The DFC.

He said: “I haven’t been able to get out much because of the snow, so that has helped me to concentrate on my writing.

“When I was a boy I loved Eagle comic, it was British-produced and I thought it was the best comic of the lot. I also loved the Superman and Batman strips.”