Author Esther Freud reveals county’s influence in her work during University of Suffolk honorary graduation
- Credit: University of Suffolk
A bestselling author who has a love for Suffolk has described how much of an influence the county’s landscape has on her work as part of her address receiving an honorary degree from the University of Suffolk.
Novelist Esther Freud joined students during their graduation at the Corn Exchange in Ipswich this afternoon, where she was recognised for her work in the field of literature.
The 54-year-old splits her time between London and Walberswick, and said she was honoured to be receiving the recognition from the University of Suffolk – a county that has been influential in her work.
“I feel really delighted to be receiving this honorary degree, especially from Suffolk which is a place that means so much to me,” she said.
“I have set two of my novels here – probably the novels I enjoyed writing more than any others just because when you are working on a book you are in that place in your head and it gives me a lot of pleasure to be in this part of the world.
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“So it really means a lot to me and I feel very honoured.”
Esther’s fifth novel, The Sea House, was her first set in Suffolk, before her most recent Mr Mac and Me returned to rural beauty of the county.
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The setting was perfect in helping her realise elements she had always wanted to include in her work.
“The first book I set in Suffolk was in about 2000, The Sea House, and I realised when I started to write it that I had been storing up all sorts of things I wanted to put in a book for years because it came pouring out so easily – just the weather, and the landscape, and the sea, and just that feeling, the effect it has being somewhere very beautiful.
“It was a great pleasure to write that book.
“More recently Mr Mac and Me, which was my last book, I wrote it from the point of view of someone who was born and bred in Suffolk whereas my first Suffolk book was a visitor’s point of view, and I felt that had come about because I knew the country even better and I could take a slightly different look at it.”
Her first exposure to storytelling was as a young actress in theatre and television.
But it was the publication of her first novel, 1992’s Hideous Kinky which was later adapted into a film starring Kate Winslet, set her on the path as a successful author.
The mother of three, who is married to actor David Morrissey, said it was “very special” being part of the graduates’ special day, and hailed their hard work.
She said: “They have worked so hard and learnt the fruits of their labour.
“One of wonderful things about working very hard and concentrating on what you most want to do is that it is very satisfying.
“Once you have learnt to do that you can apply it to pretty much anything in your life and it is a great satisfaction.”