Honorary graduands Summer 2017

Emma Donoghue

Awards from Queen’s for best-selling novelist and Paralympic gold medallist


Emma Donoghue and Bethany Firth MBE are receiving Honorary Degrees at Queen’s University Belfast today.

Emma Donoghue, author of international best-selling novel ‘Room’, and Northern Ireland’s four-time Paralympic gold medallist Bethany Firth MBE, will be awarded Honorary Degrees at Queen’s University Belfast today (Monday 3 July).

Best known for her Academy Award nominated feature film ‘Room’, which she adapted from her best-selling novel, Emma Donoghue is an award winning Irish writer.

‘Room’, which is her seventh novel, was shortlisted for the Man Brooker and Orange Prize, and has been translated into forty different languages. She writes historical and contemporary fiction for adults and children as well as short stories, plays and literary history.

Born in Dublin, Emma attended University College Dublin and then received her PhD on eighteenth-century English fiction from the University of Cambridge. She now lives in Canada with her family.

Speaking ahead of accepting her Honorary Degree for distinction in the arts and literature, Emma said: “I am truly honoured to be awarded this honorary doctorate from Queen’s University, especially given its illustrious history with so many inspirational writers. I am delighted to be here to see where so many writers began their journey and to see so many graduates take the first steps to the next chapter of their lives.”

Bethany Firth Graduation- Monday 3 July

Bethany Firth MBE, from Seaforde in County Down, will be awarded another title today as she picks up an honorary doctorate for distinction in sport.

The Paralympic swimmer, who has competed for Great Britain and Ireland since 2012, has had success in the London Paralympic Games, Rio Paralympic Games and the Commonwealth Games, winning four gold and six silver medals to date.

Bethany has a learning difficulty that causes short term memory loss. She was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire in the 2017 New Year Honours for services to swimming. When she is not training and travelling to competitions, Bethany enjoys spending time with her family and her dog, miniature Yorkshire terrier, Russell.

Offering advice to her fellow graduates, she said: “You can achieve anything that you want if you put your mind to it. I really believe that and I hope that my fellow graduates today achieve everything they have dreamed of.”

She added: “It’s quite an honour to receive an Honorary Doctorate from Queen’s University Belfast.”

More Graduation Stories

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