Acclaimed author Dr Sarah Perry appointed as new Chancellor

  • Date

    Mon 17 Jul 23

Dr Sarah Perry

Inspirational author Dr Sarah Perry is the new Chancellor of the University of Essex. This significant appointment marks a momentous occasion for the University as it strengthens its commitment to academic excellence, creativity and the arts, ahead of its 60th anniversary in 2024.

Hailing from the county of Essex, Sarah is recognised for her outstanding literary achievements and captivating storytelling, including her number one best-seller The Essex Serpent, inspired by the history and landscape of her home county.

With a remarkable career spanning numerous critically acclaimed books, Sarah has earned a prominent place in the literary world, inspiring readers with her thought-provoking narratives and distinctive voice.

"It is a great honour to be appointed as the Chancellor of the University of Essex," Sarah said. "I am very proud to be an Essex girl: the history, landscape and spirit of Essex are all lodged in my heart and at the centre of my work, and so I’m excited to contribute to the University's rich academic heritage and share in its future. I’m immensely looking forward to supporting and inspiring students, encouraging them all to unleash their creative potential, and fostering an environment where intellectual curiosity thrives."

The appointment of Sarah Perry as Chancellor comes at a special moment in the history of the University of Essex, as it celebrates its 60th anniversary and continues to expand its influence as a centre for academic excellence and social impact. Sarah’s passion for literature and education aligns perfectly with the University's vision and values, further reinforcing its commitment to fostering a vibrant intellectual community.

"I am delighted to welcome Dr Sarah Perry as our new Chancellor," said Professor Anthony Forster, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Essex. "As Chancellor Sarah will oversee graduation ceremonies and act as an ambassador and champion for the University’s work. Her literary achievements and deep connection to Essex will inspire our students, faculty, and wider community. Sarah is someone who loves the history and culture of Essex and has weaved it into the heart of her creative work.”

Dr Sarah Perry at the University of Essex)
Dr Sarah Perry at the University of Essex

Sarah has established a global reputation through her writing including her novels Melmoth, The Essex Serpent, and After Me Comes the Flood, and the non-fiction Essex Girls. The Essex Serpent was a word-of-mouth sensation and number one best-seller after its release in 2016 and was adapted for television in 2022.

The winner of the Waterstones Book of the Year Awards and the British Book Awards, Sarah has also been nominated for major literary prizes including the Women's Prize for Fiction, the Dylan Thomas Prize, the Folio Prize and the Costa Novel Award.

Sarah completed her undergraduate studies at Anglia Ruskin University and has a PhD in Creative Writing from Royal Holloway, University of London. She is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and has been a UNESCO City of Literature Writer in Residence in Prague, and a Writer in Residence at Gladstone's Library and the Savoy Hotel in London.

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