Bookselling Ireland Biography of the Year

Winner 2023



By Katriona O'Sullivan

As the middle of five kids growing up in dire poverty, the odds were low on Katriona O’Sullivan making anything of her life. She became a mother at 15 and ended up homeless. Five rackety years followed – barely coping, drinking to escape – until Katriona, now living in her father’s native Dublin, hit rock bottom. 
Poor is the extraordinary story – moving, funny, brave, and sometimes startling – of how Katriona turned her life around. During her schooldays there had been teachers who looked out for her – beacons of stability in a chaotic childhood. They planted seeds of self-belief. In Dublin when she sought help, she found mentors whose encouragement revived that self-belief. She got her act together, got a flat and a job as a cleaner, and got into Trinity College. Today Dr Katriona O’Sullivan is an award-winning lecturer whose work explores barriers to education. 
Despite her professional success, and happiness in her marriage and as a loving mother, Katriona lives with the indelible legacy of her early years. Her book is a stirring argument for the importance of looking out for our kids, of giving them hope, practical support and meaningful opportunities. 

About Katriona O'Sullivan...

Dr Katriona O’Sullivan was born in Coventry to Irish parents. In 1998, at 20, she moved from Birmingham to Dublin and subsequently enrolled in the Trinity College access programme. She went on to gain a PhD in psychology from Trinity and joined its staff. She know works as a senior lecturer in Digital Skills in Maynooth University’s Department of Psychology. She has worked with policy-makers to develop strategies around education and inclusion, and has been an invited speaker at the UN, the World Education Forum, the European Gender Action Workshop on Women and Digitalization. Most recently, the programme she leads to improve working class girls’ access to education in STEM subjects won the Most Impactful Initiative Award at the Women in Tech Europe Awards in Amsterdam. She is married with three children and lives in Dublin. Poor is her first book. 

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