He received his degree during the university’s winter awards ceremony at the Brighton Dome on Thursday 11 February. He was presented by Dr Paddy Maguire, Head of the university’s School of Humanities.
Jim Crace’s novels include Quarantine, which won Whitbread Novel of 1998, and Harvest, which won the 2015 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, the 2013 James Tait Black Memorial Prize and was shortlisted for the 2013 Man Booker Prize.
He praised graduates for their “massive” hard work, adding: “All that I have done to get this award is to do exactly what I wanted to do for the last 40 years, my working life since I was 20 years old, and that has amounted to being a journalist for international and national newspapers for about 15 years and then the writer of novels, 12 novels, in the last 20 years.
“I have done it because it has given me immense pleasure and insight to politics, natural history, the world, so it has been a great career for me.”
He confessed to being naïve in the early days, thinking writing was simple, but he soon discovered a writer had to be led into “those deep and difficult fields by people who have experienced them before you, by lecturers, by experts, by writers.
“I needed to be grounded in books, to learn literature. And the best place to do that is in places like the University of Brighton, or the University of London where I did my external degree.”
He said the degree helped him pick up the skills he needed “and enabled me to address my dreams”.