Salman Rushdie, the novelist who spent years under threat of death after an Iranian fatwa, is given a knighthood in the Queen's Birthday Honours today.
Cricketer Ian Botham and Oleg Gordievsky, the former Soviet spy who defected to Britain, are also honoured along with Dame Edna Everage creator Barry Humphries and fundraiser and terminal cancer sufferer Jane Tomlinson.
The honours list contains the usual array of stars from sport, showbusiness, fashion, the arts and industry. They rub shoulders with hundreds of unknown "ordinary people" honoured for voluntary work and charity fundraising at what Downing Street describes as the "sharp end" of society.
Picking up a CBE is Humphries, who as Dame Edna once welcomed the Queen at a concert in Buckingham Palace with the words: "The Jubilee girl is here, possums." It brought the house down.
And there is a CMG (Companion of the Distinguished Order of St Michael and St George) in the Diplomatic List for Gordievsky, a one-time colonel in the KGB, who became the highest-ranking KGB defector ever. The citation is "for services to the security of the United Kingdom".
Last Of The Summer Wine actor Peter Sallis, 87, gets an OBE, as does actress Sylvia Syms.
Comedy actor Bill Pertwee receives an MBE and there is a CBE for dairy farmer Michael Eavis, the creator and guiding light of the Glastonbury Festival.
David Starkey, the popular TV historian, gets a CBE for services to history. He has a sharp, acerbic style and was once described by a newspaper as "the rudest man in Britain".
Barbara Taylor Bradford, best-selling novelist, gets an OBE. Her first novel, A Woman of Substance, became an enduring best-seller and was followed by 20 others.
A CBE goes to Stephen Poliakoff, the acclaimed British playwright, director and scriptwriter. Hairdresser to the stars Nicky Clarke, once described as more famous than some of his customers, gets an OBE. There is a CBE for Shami Chakrabarti, director of Liberty.
Atholl Swanston: MBE
A railway supervisor who has worked on the system for nearly half a century has had his dedication rewarded.
Atholl Swanston (corr) joined the railway network in September 1957 as a clerical assistant. Now he is due to retire next month as station supervisor at Alnmouth Railway Station in Northumberland.
And the 65-year-old has had his loyalty and hard work rewarded by becoming an MBE for services to transport.
The father-of-two, of Burnside in Amble, said: "I'm thrilled. It's nice to know that you can do your job and at the end of the day what you have done is appreciated.
"I've always tried to go that extra mile, and I think the management maybe just saw that. It's very nice."
Mr Swanston, who is married to Sue, 54, and has two daughters, Kirsten, 23, and Heather, 20, said: "I've enjoyed meeting so many people - that's the thing I will the most, all the people. When you've been in the job as long as I have you meet on a regular basis and become friends with people."
Now the family are looking forward to going to meet the Queen. He said: "I'm not really a city person, London is somewhere I prefer to pass through, but for something like that it will obviously be worth stopping."
MBE for music festival chief
Chair of Wansbeck Music Festival Gillian Irvine picked up an MBE.
The 64-year-old from Morpeth, Northumberland, has been a key figure in the world of music for more than 30 years.
She has combined her love of music and her commitment to the needs and interests of her local community, focusing on disadvantaged children, to make a real difference to many people's lives in her community and "make things happen".
Many musicians in the region owe their success to her.
Gillian is widely acknowledged as having inspired many young children to maximise their musical talents, and several have gone on to become recognised musicians in their own right.
Ylana First: MBE
Local community volunteer Ylana First receives an MBE.
Ylana, of Tynemouth, was nominated for the award for her services to the community of Tynemouth, and the arts in North Tyneside.
She has been involved in campaigning to save and restore the Tynemouth Railway Station since 1982, organising festivals and book fairs and general awareness raising of the station's plight.
The 73-year-old has also been actively involved in promoting a running an abstract art exhibition in the bridge of the Station.
The first exhibition was in 1995 and has since featured artwork ranging from both professional, regional artists to work from pupils of local schools.
The fundraiser is extremely excited about meeting the Queen.
She said: "I have met the Queen once before when I went with my daughter to collect a Girl Guides award. I am really looking forward to going again this time."
Ann Ming: MBE
A mother who battled to change the 800-year-old double jeopardy law to ensure her daughter's killer faced justice is recognised for her campaign.
Ann Ming's daughter Julie Hogg was killed by former partner William Dunlop in 1989.
But he was acquitted twice in 1991 when jurors failed to reach a verdict at Newcastle Crown Court.
But the 61-year-old campaigned tirelessly to get the law changed after Dunlop told a prison officer he had lied about the killing.
In April 2005, the law - which prevented an accused who had been acquitted from being tried again for the same offence - was changed.
And last September 11 at the Old Bailey in London, Teesside labourer Dunlop finally admitted the murder. Now she becomes an MBE for services to the criminal justice system.
Mrs Ming said: "I was extremely shocked. ... You never think you'll be in a position to meet someone from the Royal family. I'm really, really delighted."
Peter Carr: knighted
The chair of the North-East health authority has been knighted in the Queen's Birthday Honours.
Peter Carr, of Corbridge, Northumberland has been given the honour for his services to the NHS culminating in his current role of chairman for NHS North East.
His involvement with the health services dates back over 10 years and comes 16 years after he was awarded a CBE in 1991.
He said: "Though this is a personal award, it is also recognition that the North-East has some of the best performing NHS services in the country.
"I therefore owe a debt of gratitude to all my colleagues for their dedication to the health service and its objectives.
"NHS North-East has seen year on year improvements to waiting times."
George Loble: MBE
A man who has spent 40 years fundraising has been awarded an MBE.
George Loble, of Elmfield Road, Gosforth, Newcastle, has been honoured for his services to the Women's Cancer Detection Society in Gateshead and to the community in Newcastle.
The 80-year-old said: "I think it's incredible."
The society bought what it believes to be the first mammography machine used to screen for breast cancer in Gateshead during the 1960s, which was housed on the top floor of then chairman Denis Davidson's shop, Shepherds.
The group went on to secure huts at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and Mr Loble believes they were the second in the country to establish a breast screening unit there which was later taken over by the NHS. "In the 80s the government followed our lead."
The regional list in full
Ian Botham, OBE. For services to charity and cricket, of Richmond, North Yorkshire
Peter Derek Carr, CBE. Chair of the North-East Strategic Health Authority. For services to the NHS, of Corbridge, Northumberland
Cheyenne Jo-An Garland. Founder and owner of Garlands Call Centres. For services to business in the North-East, of Stokesley, North Yorkshire.
Richard Clement. Film and television writer. For services to drama, now of Beverly Hills, USA
Patrick Conway. Director of Culture and Leisure and Durham County Council. For services to libraries, of Durham City, Durham.
George Garlick. Chief executive of Stockton-on Tees Borough Council. For services to local government, of Stockton-on-Tees.
Ian La Frenais. Film and television writer. For services to drama, now USA formerly of Whitley Bay.
Kingsley Ward Smith. For services to the community in the North-East, of Bishop Auckland, County Durham.
Michael John Stephenson, MBE. Managing director of Helena Biosciences. For services to business in the North-East, of Ponteland in Northumberland.
Beatrice Margaret Brown. For services to the community in Newcastle, of Newcastle.
Derek Brown. For services to young people in the North-East, of Morpeth, Northumberland.
Olive Brown. For services to local government in the Wear Valley, County Durham, of Crook in County Durham.
William John Deacon. For charitable services in Cumbria, of Windermere in Cumbria.
Terence David Fiddes. Manager of market intelligence unit of Valuation Agency, HM Revenue and Customs, of Alnwick in Northumberland.
Ylana First. For services to the community in Tynemouth and to the Arts in North Tyneside, Tynemouth.
Paul Gilmour. For services to the community in Dearham, Cumbria, of Maryport in Cumbria.
Dr William Hall. Formerly general medical practioner at Boldon, South Tyneside. For services to healthcare, of South Tyneside.
Andrew Brian Humphries. For services to agriculture and to the rural economy in Cumbria, of Carlisle in Cumbria.
Gillian Impey. Co-founder of Westmorland Heart and Soul Cardiac Support Society. For services to healthcare in Cumbria, of Kendall, Cumbria.
Gillian Irvine. Chair of Wansbeck Music Festival. For services to music in the North-East, of Morpeth, Northumberland.
Mary Bernice Johnson. Higher executive officer, the Pension Service, Department for Work and Pensions, of Whitley Bay.
June Mary Elizabeth Joyce, JP. For services to the local government and to the community in Gateshead, of Dunston.
Janet Leonard. Senior executive officer of Child Support Agency, Department for Work and Pensions, of Morpeth, Northumberland.
George Frederick Loble, JP. For services to the Women's Cancer Detection Society, Gateshead and to the community in Newcastle, of Newcastle.
Arthur Maughan. For services to the community in Lanchester, Lanchester, County Durham.
The Reverend William Moncur McKenzie. For services to the Victim Support Service and to the community in Scotland, of Dumfries and Galloway.
Wendy McLoughlin, JP. For services to disabled children in Hartlepool, Cleveland, of Hartlepool.
Ann Lydia Ming. For services to the criminal justice system, of North Yorkshire.
William Moore. Senior adviser to the Arbitration Conciliation and Advisory Service, Department of Trade and Industry, of Newcastle.
Janet Murphy. For services to disadvantaged people in Northumberland, of Blyth, Northumberland.
Lilian Murray. For services to the community in Castle Douglas, Dumfries and Galloway, of Castle Douglas, Dumfries.
Christine O'Toole. For services to Bensham Grove Community Centre, Gateshead, of Gateshead.
Clifford Ord. For services to the Joe Walton Youth Club, Middlesbrough, Great Ayton, North Yorkshire.
Anthony Leon Parrini. For services to the community in Cumbria, of Carlisle, Cumbria.
Pauline Pickles. For charitable services to Breast Cancer Sufferers in Bradford, West Yorkshire, of Penrith, Cumbria.
Patricia Maria Radice. For services to the community in Kendal of Cumbria, of Kendal, Cumbria.
Kathryn Smith. For services to the community in Killingworth, Newcastle, of Killingworth, Newcastle.
Barry Snelson. Managing director of Sellafield. For services to the nuclear industry, of Cockermouth, Cumbria.
Anne Steele. For services to the community in Benwell, Newcastle, of Newcastle.
Philip Stevens. Chief executive of Newcastle New Deal for Communities Partnership. For services to regeneration, of Newcastle.
Atholl James Swanston. Station supervisor at Alnmouth Railway Station, Northumberland, of Amble, Northumberland.
Agnes Thompson. School catering unit manager of Thomas Hepburn Community School in Gateshead. For services to education, of Newcastle.
Timothy Robert Crum Willis, DL. For services to the St John Ambulance Brigade in North Yorkshire and Cleveland, of Middlesbrough.
Harry Wrigglesworth. For services to disadvantaged people in Stockton.
Anthony Ronald Wright. Teacher at Trinity School in Carlisle. For services to education, of Carlisle, Cumbria.
Queen's Police Medal :
Christine Elizabeth Twigg. Deputy chief constable of Cumbria Constabulary.
Ian Francis Grant Dickinson. Assistant chief constable of Lothian and Borders Police.
Queen's Fire Service Medal :
Ian Hayton. Executive director of Cleveland Fire and Rescue Service.
Gale Coates. Retained watch manager of Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue.