We are delighted to announce that our Founding Director, Sandeep Mahal, has been honoured in the Queen’s Jubilee Awards with a well-deserved MBE for services to Literature, the Arts and Culture in Nottingham.

Sandeep came on board in September 2016 and swiftly transformed the fledgling organisation into an essential and vibrant, energetic part of the Notts cultural and civic scene, as well as putting the city on the map within the UNESCO Networks. After 5 and a half years at the helm of NUCOL, she stood down at the end of 2021 to pursue other opportunities.

Patrick Limb, Chair of NUCOL, said

“Our founding Chair, David Belbin and the Board made an inspired choice when appointing Sandeep Mahal as our founding Director in 2016. The accolade of such an honour reflects Sandy’s outstanding contribution to the arts and culture in and around Nottingham over the succeeding 5 years. In particular, it recognises and respects her active championing of equality of opportunity by seeking to ensure that as diverse a range of voices as possible are equitably raised up, heard and represented. With her MBE, she once more has done Nottingham as a UNESCO City of Literature proud. In turn, all of us are so proud of her achievements that have left an enduring and exciting legacy, which we honour by continuing in our shared mission to build a better world with words.”

Sandeep Mahal said

“I am stunned and thrilled to receive this honour. My time in Nottingham was the most professionally rewarding period of my career, and for me, what made it so wonderful was our mission of building a better world with words. Nottingham is rich with literary talent and creativity. I feel privileged to be acknowledged for my love of literature, arts and culture and to have played my part in nurturing talent and unlocking opportunities for others, celebrating the vitality of our diverse literary heritage across the city and the world. I am grateful for all the support and inspiration I have received over the years. Big thanks, and admiration, to the incredibly talented team with which it has been an honour to work. Thank you, Nottingham!”

All of us at Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature extend our congratulations to Sandy: we’re overjoyed at her honour, while knowing how deeply deserved it is.