AN English-born novelist who has done much to preserve and promote the Scots language will be presented with an honorary degree by Stirling University on Friday.

Dr James Robertson and the first director of the Macrobert Arts Centre, Anthony Phillips, will join more than 800 graduands receiving awards at two ceremonies.

Born in Sevenoaks in Kent, where he lived until he was six, Robertson was raised in Bridge of Allan in the shadow of the university.

A novelist, poet, editor and publisher, Robertson has published six novels to date, including The Testament of Gideon Mack, which was long-listed for the 2006 Man Booker Prize, and And the Land Lay Still, the Saltire Scottish Book of the Year in 2010.

Robertson will be recognised for his outstanding contribution to writing in Scotland, for his work to extend the use of the Scots language, and for his role in highlighting the importance of political activism and participation.

Phillips will also receive the award of Doctor of the University in recognition of his role in the creation of the Macrobert Arts Centre.

Commenting on the two awards, Professor Gerry McCormac, principal and vice chancellor of the University of Stirling, said: “As an award-winning novelist, editor, poet and publisher, Dr James Robertson has made an outstanding contribution to writing in Scotland.

“In addition, he is a passionate exponent of the Scots language and has also enthusiastically encouraged political activism and participation.

“We also celebrate Anthony Phillips, who was appointed the first director of the Macrobert Arts Centre in 1970, before it officially opened to the public one year later.

“Since then, the centre – located at the heart of the university campus – has gone from strength to strength and today is a cultural hub offering everything from comedy, dance and music, to opera, art and film.

“The Macrobert’s success is due in no small part to the vision, ambition and hard work of Mr Phillips, who is also honoured for his major contribution to classical music, arts administration and literary translation.

“I extend my congratulations to all of our graduands and honorary graduands.”