The Lord Mayor and Consort with Barbara Taylor Bradford

Celebrated Leeds-born novelist Barbara Taylor Bradford OBE receives prestigious Leeds Award

Celebrated Leeds-born novelist, Barbara Taylor Bradford OBE, has received one of the city’s highest civic honours.

In recognition of her nationally and internationally acclaimed work, Barbara has been recognised with a prestigious Leeds Award. The Leeds Award formally recognises those who have made an enormous contribution to the city, with their names proudly displayed on the wall in the antechamber of Leeds Civic Hall. Barbara was presented with her award by the Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Eileen Taylor, as part of a special event in London at her publishing house, HarperCollins Publishers.

Born in Leeds in 1933, Barbara attended nursery school in Upper Armley along with Alan Bennett. She began work as a typist on the Yorkshire Evening Post and quickly progressed to a reporter. Barbara is now a multi-million-copy bestselling author and wrote one of the biggest selling novels of the 20th century, A Woman of Substance. This year fittingly marks the book’s 40th anniversary.

A Yorkshire woman through and through, Barbara has woven Leeds into many of her novels, including A Woman of Substance, and often champions her home city on an international stage. Collectively, Barbara’s books have sold more than 92 million copies worldwide in more than 90 countries and 40 languages, with ten of her books being made into television mini-series and television movies.

The Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Eileen Taylor said:

“I have been an avid fan of Barbara’s for many years and have read all of her books. Her novels have been a true inspiration to me throughout my life and it was an absolute honour and privilege to present her, who is undoubtedly one of our city’s greatest writers, with a Leeds Award.

“It is extremely fitting that Barbara is being presented the award in the year that marks the 40th anniversary of her first novel, A Woman of Substance, which puts Leeds at its very heart.

“The Leeds Award was designed to honour those people that have made an enormous contribution and achieved so much in their respective fields, and there is no better recipient than Barbara, who has worked tirelessly to champion our city.”

Barbara Taylor Bradford OBE said:

“I was surprised but truly thrilled when I was informed that I would receive the Leeds Award and that my name would be written on the wall of fame in the Civic Hall.

“What a wonderful honour. I have always loved Leeds and actually did start my working career on the Yorkshire Evening Post. I remember those days with great affection and Leeds will always have a special place in my heart.”

The Leeds Award is a prestigious honour that recognises that there are many people, groups, organisations and teams that bring great credit to the City through their exceptional hard work and dedication. It has been established by Leeds City Council to formally recognise those whose outstanding contributions are a credit to the City and its people.

It is viewed as a lasting tribute to those contributions that make a real difference to the city. Recipients of the Leeds Award will have their name inscribed on the ‘wall of fame’ located in the Ante Chamber of the Civic Hall. A panel comprising of one Member from each Group is responsible for assessing nominations for the award and making recommendations to Full Council.

Criteria for granting the Award:

  • Awarded to those who change the life or lives of the people of Leeds.
  • For those who perform an exceptional service to their community.
  • Normally precluded from the Leeds Award if previously recognised for the same service by a national award, within the last 15 years.
  • A person/team/group/organisation may not nominate themselves and, where appropriate, letters of support in addition to the nomination may be required.
  • If an individual is nominated by a family member, another independent nomination or letter of support must be received.

The Leeds Award is not for:

  • Councillors.
  • Services that have their own recognition system.
  • Person who is in a leadership/chairing role by deed of appointment or election, e.g. Chair of a local Leeds in Bloom group who also have to be able to demonstrate a significant environmental improvement.

Unsuccessful nominations may be re-submitted after a period of two years.