“An incredible honour” is how Clonakilty native Louise O’Neill described the Honorary Doctorate in Law she was awarded in UCC on Friday.
The award-winning author and columnist received the accolade in recognition of her works’ role in bringing problematic issues to the fore in contemporary discourse.
Reflecting on the conferring, Ms O’Neill said she felt very grateful to UCC.
“My mother and sister both attended UCC so I’ve always felt a little left out when they’re reminiscing about their college days!” she said.
“To be given an honorary doctorate is beyond my wildest dreams. I’m so grateful to the university and to the School of Law for this incredible honour.”
Ms O’Neill was nominated by Prof Louise Crowley of the School of Law, who leads UCC’s Bystander Intervention Programme.
“Louise O’Neill is the voice of her generation. Through her writing and play adaptations, Louise’s work has made a significant and challenging contribution to the contemporary narrative surrounding key societal issues,” she said.
“It has awakened an awareness of the importance of recognising and calling out unacceptable behaviour, [and] it has inspired a demand for cultural change across Irish society.”
UCC President Prof John O’Halloran said he was delighted the Cork author is the recipient of a doctorate from the college.
“Louise’s seminal work has held a mirror up to Irish society, and forced us to confront uncomfortable truths about our culture that were all-pervasive, but of which we rarely speak.
“While her skill is in writing on complex and challenging issues in a manner that engages, and not patronises, young audiences, her work transcends age categorisations and carries valuable lessons for us all.” he said.
Ms O’Neill released her first Young Adult (YA) novel Only Ever Yours in 2014, followed by Asking For It in September 2015.
Subsequently adapted for the stage, Asking For It spent 52 consecutive weeks in the Irish top 10 bestseller list and won the Specsavers Senior Children’s Book of the Year at the 2015 Irish Book Awards, the Literature Prize at Irish Tatler’s Women of the Year Awards, the American Library Association’s Michael L Printz award, and was voted Book of the Year at the Irish Books Awards 2015.