On her official website, well-known author Kathy Lette claims the only examination she’s ever passed was a ‘’pap smear test’’.
So it was a pretty proud moment for the author of chick-lit classics like Puberty Blues and Foetal Attraction when she graduated with a honorary degree from the University of Wollongong on Thursday.
The celebrated writer, human rights advocate and feminist received an Honorary Doctorate of Letters as part of the autumn graduation ceremonies.
Ms Lette first attracted attention in 1979 while still in her teens, as the co-author of the classic Australian novel Puberty Blues, which was made into a major film and a TV mini-series.
Raised in Sydney’s southern suburbs by former rugby league great and Bulldogs player, Mervyn Lette and teacher, Val, she later became a newspaper columinist and sitcom writer.
However she returned to novel writing in 1988 with Girls’ Night Out and has since written several works of fiction, although her most recent book The Boy Who Fell to Earth was based around her son who has Asperger’s.
‘’I only write because it’s cheaper than therapy – oh and for revenge,’’ she said.
‘’You can always impale enemies on the end of your pen. Poetic justice is the only true justice – and I say that having been married to a lawyer for nearly three decades.’’
She’s based in London with her husband, human rights barrister Geoffrey Robertson QC, but maintains strong ties to the Illawarra.
She’s holidayed in the region since childhood, while her niece and nephew are currently studying at UOW.
Professor Amanda Lawson, Executive Dean of Law, Humanities and the Arts, said Ms Lette’s work had strong connections with teaching and research in English literature and creative writing at the university.
Prof Lawson said: ‘’The way in which her work includes and mixes together a number of different genres such as fiction, autobiography, and media commentary also has affinities with the research and practice of discipline members, who are uniformly interested in the overlaps between literature, contemporary everyday life, and popular culture.’’