Bestselling author Louise Doughty awarded Honorary Degree

The bestselling Leicestershire-born author, playwright and journalist, Louise Doughty, has today (Wednesday 19 January) been awarded an Honorary Degree by the University of Leicester.

The author of nine novels, Louise is best known for Apple Tree Yard, which has sold over half a million copies in the UK alone and has been translated in 30 territories worldwide. A four-part TV adaptation with Emily Watson in the lead role was broadcast on Sunday nights on BBC One in January 2017.

As well as an accomplished author, Louise is a critic and cultural commentator for UK and international newspapers, and she broadcasts regularly for the BBC. She has been the judge for many prizes and awards including the Man Booker Prize and the Costa Novel Award.

Speaking today, Louise Doughty, Honorary Doctor of Letters said: “I'm delighted to be receiving an Honorary Degree from the University of Leicester – it is all the more thrilling because it comes from the East Midlands where I was born and raised.  

“Neither of my parents were fortunate enough to go to university themselves but they were passionate about all three of their children receiving higher education. 

“Their hard work in raising all of us is what lead to me becoming a professional novelist and it is wonderful to have it recognised in this way.”

Professor Nishan Canagarajah, President and Vice-Chancellor said: “I am delighted to confer this most well-deserved honour to Louise Doughty. “Her many accomplishments and passion for improving access to literature are highly inspiring, and she embodies what it means to be a Citizen of Change. 

“I warmly congratulate Louise upon joining the University of Leicester as a Honorary Graduate.” 

Born in Melton Mowbray in 1963, Louise grew up in Oakham and later took a BA in English Literature at Leeds University and an MA in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia, where her tutors were Malcolm Bradbury and Angela Carter.

Louise’s novel, Black Water, was nominated as one of the New York Times Book Review Top 100 Notable Books of 2016, and her sixth novel, Whatever You Love, was shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award and longlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction. 

She has been nominated for many other awards including those for radio drama and short stories, along with publishing one work of non-fiction, A Novel in a Year, based on her popular newspaper column.

Passionate about the causes of literacy, access to literature and creative writing, Louise is also a Trustee of the National Literary Trust and the Malcolm Bradbury Trust. In addition, she is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and sits on its Council, and a member of the Folio Academy.

She now lives in London but remains very proud of her East Midlands roots.

These are the first in-person Graduation ceremonies taking place at the University of Leicester since January 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

For more information, visit