Louise Penny Receives Honorary Doctorate from Carleton University

Carleton University today conferred a Doctor of Literature, honoris causa, on Louise Penny in recognition of her career as an award-winning broadcaster and author of detective fiction.

Penny was honoured during Carleton’s Spring Convocation. Approximately 3,580 students received their degrees during ceremonies this week.

“Your lives are ahead of you,” said Penny.  “So many wonderful things will happen.  But if, per chance, you should ever find yourself on the edge, thinking the best has been…thinking there’s no way forward, please know…that’s not true.  I’m grateful every day for the wonderful things in my life…but I’m also deeply grateful to have looked into the void.”

Born in Toronto in 1958, Penny became a journalist with CBC Radio, specializing in hard news and current affairs.  She left CBC Radio Montreal’s noon program to focus on writing.

Since then, she has written 12 books in a mystery series set around the life of Armand Gamache, fictional chief Inspector of the Sûreté du Québec. The first, Still Life, was published in 2005. Translated into 23 languages, the novels have won or been shortlisted for most of the major crime fiction awards, including the American Edgars and Agathas, the United Kingdom Gold Dagger and the Canadian Arthur Ellis.

Penny and her husband founded a Canadian literary prize aimed at encouraging emerging writers.  Her novels are international bestsellers topping, among others, the New York Times and Globe and Mail lists.

“The world  of Three Pines is a place with which thoise of us who come from that particular part of the world can readily identify: in fact it is two worlds, a wonderful mélange of French and English, incorporating the best of each culture,” said John Osborne, professor of Medieval Studies. “In her novels, Louise Penny captures the very essence of L’Estrie.”

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Steven Reid
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Carleton University
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