Biography & Memoir, Literary Biography & Memoir
Paperback Published on: 18/04/2024
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Bookseller Reviews

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An Incredible Read
At a loss for words after finishing this book. If only I could put my arms into this incredible book and lift the vulnerable child out of its pages. To be ... READ MORE
Jen Mackay at Windsor
Unflinching and Generous
An unflinching and profoundly moving account of how it is to grow up on the very edges of society, told with honesty, courage and above all, generosity. I ... READ MORE
Alison at Reading
Essential reading
Genuinely one of the most profoundly moving memoirs I have ever read. Katriona O’Sullivan is unflinchingly honest about her experiences and whilst the subj... READ MORE
Hard times, moments of hope
Near the start of the book is a vivid scene from the author’s childhood in which she describes finding her father overdosing on a stained bed, a sight no l... READ MORE
Beth at Chesterfield


Like young girls everywhere Katriona O’Sullivan grew up bright, enthusiastic, curious. But she was also surrounded by abject poverty and chaos, and after she became pregnant and homeless at 15, what followed was five years of barely surviving. Yet today Katriona is an award-winning academic whose work explores barriers to education for girls like her.

What set Katriona on this unexpected path were the mentors and supporters who truly saw her. The teachers who showed her how to wash in the school toilets or turned up at her door to convince her to sit at least one GCSE. The community worker who encouraged her to apply for training schemes. The friend who introduced Katriona to Trinity College’s access program while she was a cleaner. Simple acts that would help her turn her life around.

Told with warmth, clarity and compassion – compassion for her parents, for her younger self, for others – Poor is both an astonishing personal testimony and an impassioned plea for the future of our children.

  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
  • ISBN: 9780241996768
  • Number of pages: 304
  • Weight: 212g
  • Dimensions: 197 x 128 x 19 mm

Customer Reviews

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Having grown up in a similar situation to Katrina, I found it hard to get through the book. This struggle was nothing to do with Katriona’s writing (her pr... READ MORE
Carmel Delaney