Feb 10, 2021

receives UCD’s Literary and Historical Society James Joyce award.

Liz Nugent

Liz Nugent has been honoured by UCD’s Literary and Historical Society with the 2021 James Joyce award in recognition of her literary accomplishments. Previous recipients include writers Seamus Heaney, Roddy Doyle, JK Rowling and Salman Rushdie.

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“Thank you so much, UCD L&H for such an honour,” the author said. “Imagine, James Joyce and me, hanging out. The only thing we have in common is a love of Gorgonzola. Oh, and a walking stick, though I think his was for fashionable reasons.”

Nugent’s bestselling and award winning novels are Unravelling Oliver, Lying in Wait , Skin Deep and Our Little Cruelties, She has also written for television and radio.


“Never in my life has imposter syndrome felt quite so strong, because I never attended university and I don’t have a degree in English, or anything else for that matter. When a friend sent me a photo of my first book in UCC Library, I whooped for joy, because that was my first time to be in a university library and I felt very pleased and proud.


“The fact that I did not attend university was due to two factors. Firstly, I was a terrible student and a troubled adolescent and secondly, because of a physical disability which meant that almost as soon as I learned to write, a catastrophic brain haemmorhage affected my right-hand side. After years of painful physiotherapy, I had to abandon all attempts to use my right hand to write and gradually learn to use my left hand. My handwriting was consequently very slow, so I never finished an exam paper.


“I did not, however, lose my ability to read and my passion for reading saw me through many ups and downs over the following years. In order to be a writer, one must first be a reader. I read everything I could get my hands on, working through my own books and then graduating to my parents’ bookshelves (my one and only graduation!).”

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