The University of Warwick has announced today, 27th October 2004, that award winning poet and novelist Jackie Kay is to be one of three people awarded Honorary degrees by the University of Warwick at its Winter Degree Ceremonies on Wednesday 26th January. The University will also award honorary degrees to former University of Warwick Vice-Chancellor Dr Clark Brundin and a leading Hong Kong legal figure The Hon Ms Elsie Leung. The times and details for interview and photo opportunities on the day of ceremonies will be issued nearer the time but short biographies of all three honorary graduands now follows:
Jackie Kay Hon DLitt (Doctor of Letters) -She was born in Edinburgh in 1961 to a Scottish mother and Nigerian father, and was adopted at birth by a couple living in Glasgow. She remains close to her adoptive parents and drew on the experience of being adopted as inspiration for her first collection of poetry, The Adoption Papers (1991). The poems deal with an adopted child's search for a cultural identity and are told through the voices of an adoptive mother, a birth mother and a daughter. The collection won a Scottish Arts Council Book Award, the Saltire Society Scottish First Book of the Year Award and a commendation by the Forward Poetry Prize judges in 1992. Her other work includes the poetry collection Other Lovers (1993) which explores the role and power of language, inspired and influenced by the history of Afro-Caribbean people (and includes a sequence of poems about the blues-singer Bessie Smith), and Off Colour (1998) which explores themes of sickness, health and disease. Her poems have appeared in many anthologies, and she has written widely for stage and television. Her first novel, Trumpet, (1998), was awarded the Guardian Fiction Prize and was short listed for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. Inspired by the life of musician Billy Tipton, the novel tells the story of Scottish jazz trumpeter Joss Moody whose death revealed that he was, in fact, a woman. She has also published a novel for children, Strawgirl (2002).
Dr Clark Brundin Hon LLD (Doctor of Laws) - An engineer who began his career as an Electronics Petty Officer in the US navy. He went on to hold a number of academic positions in Berkley and Oxford. He served as Vice–Chancellor of the University of Warwick from 1985 – 1992.He presided over a period of expansion and success at the University. Student numbers doubled, postgraduates increased by 250% and Warwick established itself firmly in the top tier of UK research universities. In 1990 he accepted on behalf of the University the prestigious Bertelsmann prize for the most innovative university in Europe. On leaving Warwick he took up the roles of President of Templeton College and Director of Oxford’s School of Management Studies (1992-96). He is a Visiting Scholar at the Centre for Higher Education Studies, Berkeley,University of California. He also serves on the advisory board of the Oxford Centre for Higher Education Policy Studies, & sits as a Liberal Democrat Councilor on Oxford City Council.
The Hon Ms Elsie Leung Hon LLD (Doctor of Laws) - Appointed as the first Secretary for Justice of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in 1997, she is the principal legal adviser to all Hong Kong government bureaux and departments. Ms Leung, who qualified as a solicitor 1968, has a distinguished record of public service. In 1993 she was appointed as a Delegate of the 8th National People’s Congress as well as a Hong Kong Affairs Advisor. While leading up to reunification Ms Leung advised on legal matters relating to the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. She is currently the Chairman of the Law Reform Commission and serves on numerous committees, including the Fight Crime Committee and the Operations Review Committee of the Independent Commission Against Corruption.
For further information contact:
Peter Dunn, Press and Media Relations Manager
University of Warwick Tel: 024 76 523708
PR143 PJD 27th October 2004