Former Australian Antarctic Arts Fellow Meredith Hooper has been named the Australian of the Year in the UK.

The award recognizes an Australian who has excelled in their own right in the United Kingdom, and was presented at the Australia Day Gala Dinner at Australia House in London on Saturday 25 January.

Ms Hooper is a leading writer, lecturer and broadcaster, who travelled to Antarctica with the Australian Antarctic program in 1994.

Australian Antarctic Division Director Tony Fleming congratulated Ms Hooper on her award.

“She is an extraordinary ambassador for the Antarctic,” Dr Fleming said.

“Her interest in Antarctica was sparked from a young age — she was born and grew up in Adelaide, South Australia, and her geologist father travelled with Douglas Mawson on field trips to the Flinders Ranges,” Dr Fleming said.

Ms Hooper has some 75 titles published internationally for both children and adults, including The Longest Winter — Scott’s other heroes – a book celebrating the centenary of Scott’s expedition to the Antarctic; and The Ferocious Summer — Palmer’s Penguins and the Warming of Antarctica, which won the 2008 Nettie Palmer Prize for non-fiction at the Victorian Premier’s Awards.

Ms Hooper is a Visiting Fellow at Wolfson College, Cambridge, and a trustee, and on the Editorial Board, of The Round Table — The Commonwealth Journal of International Affairs. She is a UK Trustee of the International Polar Foundation and a Trustee of the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust.

Ms Hooper also travelled to Antarctica in 1998–99 and 2001–02 with the American Government’s artists and writers programme, and as a guest of the Royal Navy.

In 2000 she was awarded the Antarctic Service Medal by the National Science Foundation on behalf of the US Congress.