Sensing an opportunity, the UK government’s marketing department approached the incredibly popular novelist Agatha Christie in 1961 in an effort to drum up some publicity; the assumption being that Christie, having just been awarded an honorary degree by the University of Exeter, would in return be more than happy to help.
Christie’s response was humorously succinct, and, for its recipients at least, disappointing.
April 20th 1961
Dear Mr. Kittermaster
I’m sorry I must refuse your suggestion, but I don’t enjoy this sort of thing — so really why should I?!
Also I don’t see why the conferment of a degree should be an excuse for publicity. I am most averse to the idea.