LEADING figures from the world of journalism, politics, science, literature and the performing arts will get honorary degrees from the University of York this week.

Every year the university confers honorary degrees on individuals who have made outstanding contributions to society.

The recipients of 2018 honorary degrees, which will be awarded as part of the University's summer graduation ceremonies over four days from Wednesday - Saturday.

Among the recipients this year is BBC journalist and author Gavin Esler who is known for his work on the wrongful convictions of the so-called ‘Guildford Four’ and ‘Maguire Seven’. Their stories eventually became the basis of the film, In the Name of the Father.

Mr Esler became the BBC’s Chief North America Correspondent, based in Washington and covering the Bush and Clinton White House.

Other recipients this year include epidemiologist and public health expert Prof Dame Anne Johnson, one of the world’s leading professors of medieval literature Prof Alastair J Minnis, the artistic director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, Gregory Doran, Simon Stephens, University of York graduate and award-winning playwright and another long-standing BBC Correspondent, Bridget Kendall.

Professor Alastair Minnis is one of the leading professors of medieval literature in the world.

Since 2008 he has been Douglas Tracy Smith Professor of English at Yale University, and has achieved international recognition for his work on literary criticism and the history of ideas, and on medieval philosophy and theology.

Meanwhile Gregory Doran joined the RSC in 1987 and directed his first production in 1992, Derek Walcott’s adaptation of Homer’s Odyssey for The Other Place in Stratford-upon-Avon.

He has directed over two thirds of the canon, including All’s Well That Ends Well with Judi Dench, Macbeth with Antony Sher, Hamlet with David Tennant and Patrick Stewart, and Julius Caesar set in contemporary Africa. To mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death in 2016,

his productions of Richard II, Henry IV Parts I & II and Henry V undertook the RSC’s first major tour to China and Hong Kong.

Other recipients include: Northern Irish academic and former politician Prof Monica McWilliams, Dr Stephen Cleobury, director of music at King’s College, Cambridge, Prof Dame Athene Donald, Professor of Experimental Physics, University of Cambridge.

The honourary graduates will join hundreds of graduates receiving their degrees at the university's Central Hall.