University of Leicester awards honorary degree to graduate and best-selling author

Acclaimed novelist and Leicester graduate, Adele Parks MBE has returned to the University to be awarded an honorary degree.

Parks received a (DLitt) Doctor of Letters from the University of Leicester in a ceremony that took place at De Montfort Hall on Thursday, 19 January.

She was born in North Yorkshire and studied BA English Literature and Language at the University of Leicester.

After graduating from the University in 1990, Parks began her professional life in advertising but her dream was always to be a novelist.

Determined to pursue her ambition, Parks delivered an unsolicited manuscript of what would become her first novel to a literary agency on the eve of her 30th birthday. Playing Away was published in 2000.

Since then, she has published twenty-two novels which have sold more than 4.5 million copies of the English language editions, and has been translated into over thirty other languages. She has become one of the country’s most popular novelists writing in several different genres including psychological thrillers, historical and domestic drama.

Her Sunday Times Number One Bestsellers Lies Lies Lies (2019) and Just My Luck (2020) were both shortlisted for the British Book Awards and have been optioned for development for TV, as has her most recent chart topper One Last Secret.

The late Queen Elizabeth included Parks in the New Year Honours List 2022 where she was awarded an MBE for her services to literature. Parks received the award in His Majesty King Charles III’s very first investiture ceremony.

As well as a novelist, Parks is also an ambassador of the National Literacy Trust and the Reading Agency, two charities that promote literacy in the UK. Her Quick Read book, Happy Families, won the Learners’ Favourite Award. In 2009 she was awarded an honorary doctorate by Teesside University.

Adele Parks said: I had such an incredible time at the University of Leicester. My mind was broadened, the opportunities were limitless, and the friendships I forged have proved invaluable and enduring.

“Thirty-five years later many of my best friends now are those I made at Leicester. That's not surprising because it is a university that nurtures individuals while allowing everyone to feel a sense of belonging.

“This combination produces interesting, kind, ambitious graduates that are the ultimate team players; they are citizens of change.

“It's a great privilege to be offered this honorary doctorate and to further strengthen my ties with the establishment that was my launch pad.”