Development And Alumni Relations Office


November 28 2018

Lisa McGee, stage and screen writer, and creator of Channel 4 smash hit sitcom Derry Girls has scooped the coveted First Trust Bank Queen’s Graduate of the Year Award.

Presented at the annual Queen’s Graduates’ Association Charter Day Dinner in Riddel Hall, Lisa is the latest graduate of Queen’s to be recognised for the significant impact she has made on her chosen field since leaving the University.

The multi-award winning BA Drama (2002) graduate, who also created the Channel 4 comedy London Irish, and has just finished filming the much-anticipated second season of Derry Girls.

Lisa, who accepted a perpetual trophy at the Charter Day Dinner on Friday 23 November said: “I am beyond thrilled to be receiving this award. It really is such a huge honour.

“Queen’s holds a very special place in my heart and I cherish the time I spent as a student there. It’s where I wrote my earliest plays and where I made some lifelong friends; in fact several members of our cast and crew on Derry Girls were old Queen’s classmates of mine. 

“It was a wonderfully supportive environment to grow as a creative. I found my voice as a writer there and for that I will be eternally grateful.”

President of the Queen’s Graduates’ Association Fergal McFerran said: “We were delighted that Lisa was able to join us at our annual Charter Day celebration. It was incredibly inspiring to hear first-hand about her journey from leaving Queen’s to becoming the writer of a show that was such a hit that Channel 4 commissioned a second series after just one episode!

“Lisa has just been named one of the BBC’s Top 100 Inspirational Woman and it was a unanimous decision to name Lisa our graduate winner this year.  She has made a substantial contribution to the arts, yet again putting Northern Ireland on the map both in terms of our sensational filming locations and the creative talent pool we have, which continues to grow at an incredible pace,” he added.

Lisa McGee was also recently named as one of three new Fellows who will continue the legacy of Seamus Heaney’s work at the Seamus Heaney Centre at Queen’s University, Belfast.

The honour from her alma mater comes hot on the heels of the Gala Award for Writer in Comedy or Soap, which Lisa picked up at the 2018 Irish Film and Television Academy Awards held in May. The same evening, Derry Girls also took home the Gala Award for Comedy!

In September, Lisa was named the 11th hottest TV star of the past 12 months by the Radio Times, seeing off well-known UK entertainment and broadcasting world figures such as Jodie Whittaker, Laura Kuenssberg, Gary Lineker and Peter Kay.

Charlotte Maguire, First Trust Bank’s University Road Branch Manager said: “First Trust Bank are proud to have been supporting the prestigious Graduate and Student of the Year Awards at Queen’s since their inception almost 20 years ago.

“This year’s graduate winner Lisa McGee is an inspiring role model who we’re so proud to be able to recognise. Lisa’s had a truly exceptional year and we wish her every success in the future as she continues to reflect the very best of our local talent.”

Previous winners of the prestigious First Trust Bank Graduate of the Year Award include renowned architect Johann Muldoon; Jonny Bramley, BAFTA award-winning BBC Sport Executive producer; John Leckey, former Senior Coroner for Northern Ireland; broadcaster and wildlife photographer Jonathan Scott and Ramona Nicholas, entrepreneur and former RTÉ Dragons’ Den panel member.

The Graduate of the Year Award is generously supported by First Trust Bank, and has been from its inception in 1999. The annual Charter Day Dinner at Queen’s, organised by the Queen’s Graduates’ Association is kindly supported by Allstate Northern Ireland and Woodford Bourne.

Visit Queen's Graduates' Association for further information on the QGA and the Charter Day Dinner, or contact Queen’s Alumni Officer, Natasha Sharma, Development and Alumni Relations Office; tel: +44 (0)28 9097 3135.

To submit graduate news items, or for general enquiries about this news story, please contact Gerry Power, Communications Officer, Queen's Development and Alumni Relations Office – tel: +44 (0)28 9097 5321.

Caption (L-R): Fergal McFerran (President, Queen's Graduates' Association), Charlotte Maguire (First Trust Bank), Lisa McGee (First Trust Bank, Queen's Graduate of the Year) and Professor Adrienne Scullion (Faculty Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Queen's University Belfast)


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