A TRAVEL writer who wrote of falling in love with Durham had his feelings reciprocated yesterday when he was named the chancellor of the city's university.

The love affair between Durham and US-born Bill Bryson began in 1995 when, in his Notes From a Small Island, he described Durham as perfect.

Last summer, the writer was awarded an honorary doctorate of civil law by the university, and yesterday Mr Bryson was named the 11th chancellor of Durham University.

The 54-year-old said: "I could ask for no greater honour. I hope it goes without saying that I will do my utmost to serve the university with credit."

Born in Iowa, Mr Bryson first came to the UK as a backpacker, worked as a journalist and moved to North Yorkshire, where he wrote his first travel articles.

Most recently, he was back in the best-sellers list with A Short History of Nearly Everything, but he remains best known for the travel book documenting his tour of Britain, in which he described seeing Durham Cathedral as "one of the greatest sights in the world", adding: "every single part of the city seemed a real delight".

Those few paragraphs, which are used in Durham's official guidebooks, endeared him to the city and ensured that ten years after his first visit he was invited to return for the prestigious post.