Emma Donoghue biography, plus links to book reviews and book excerpts from books by Emma Donoghue.

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Emma Donoghue

Emma Donoghue

Emma Donoghue Biography

Emma Donoghue is an award-winning Irish writer who lives in Canada. At 38, she has published seven novels, three books of short stories, two works of literary history, two anthologies and two plays.

Born in Dublin, Ireland, on 24 October 1969, Emma is the youngest of eight children of Frances and Denis Donoghue. She attended Catholic convent schools in Dublin, apart from one year in New York at the age of ten. In 1990 she earned a first-class honours BA in English and French from University College Dublin, and in 1997 a PhD (on the concept of friendship between men and women in eighteenth-century English fiction) from the University of Cambridge. Since the age of 23, Donoghue has earned her living as a full-time writer. After years of commuting between England, Ireland, and Canada, in 1998 she settled in London, Ontario, where she lives with her lover and their son and daughter.

Her novels to date are:

  • Stir-fry (1994): A coming of age story set against the backdrop of university life in Dublin.
  • Hood (1995): A tale of love between two Catholic women in Ireland.
  • Slammerkin (2000): About a poor young girl living in 1760s London who turns to prostitution to improve the quality of her life. Inspired by the real-life Mary Saunders, this is Donoghue's first foray into historical fiction and the novel that put her on the literary map.
  • Life Mask (2004): A fictional recreation, set in 18th century England, of a plausible but unproven love triangle between actress Eliza Farren, sculptor Anne Damer and Edward Smith-Stanley, the twelfth Earl of Derby.
  • Landing (2007): A contemporary romantic comedy that explores the pleasures and sorrows of long-distance relationships.
  • The Sealed Letter (2008): A povocative drama of friends, lovers, and divorce, based on a scandalous divorce case that gripped England in 1864.
  • Room (2010)

Link to Emma's website

This biography was last updated on 09/15/2010.

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Interview

An Interview with Emma Donoghue about Room

Jack is such a unique narrator. At what point did you decide to tell the story from his perspective?

I never considered any other perspective: letting Jack tell this story was my idea in a nutshell. I hoped having a small child narrator would make such a horrifying premise original, involving, but also more bearable: his innocence would at least partly shield readers on their descent into the abyss. I also knew that Jack would have some interesting things to say about our world, as a newcomer to it; the book's satire of modern mores and media, and interrogations of the nature of reality, grew out of Jack's perspective rather than being part of my initial plan. I did have some technical worries about having such a young narrator: I knew the prospect of being stuck in a little kid's head might turn some readers off. But I never feared that Jack would be unable to tell the whole story.

How did you manage to get so thoroughly into the mind-set of a five-year-old boy?


It was a help that my own son was five, but it's not like Finn and Jack have much in common: Finn has been as shaped by sociability and freedom as Jack has by routine and one-to-one ...

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Books by this Author

Books by Emma Donoghue at BookBrowse

Recommended in Detail at BookBrowse

Frog Music
Frog Music

by Emma Donoghue

Emma Donoghue digs up a long-forgotten, never-solved crime in a lyrical tale of love and bloodshed among lowlifes, capturing the pulse of a boomtown like no other.
Read More

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Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Emma Donoghue but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
How we choose readalikes

  • David Almond

    David Almond

    David Almond, in his own words:

    I was born in Newcastle and I grew up in a big Catholic family in Felling-on-Tyne. I had four sisters and a brother and lots of relatives in the streets nearby. My dad had been in Burma ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Room

    Try:
    The True Tale of the Monster Billy Dean
    by David Almond

  • Author Image Not Available

    Eleanor Catton

    Eleanor Catton eas born in 1985 in Canada and raised in Canterbury, New Zealand. She completed an MA in Creative Writing at Victoria University in 2007 and won the Adam Prize in Creative Writing for her first novel, The ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Frog Music

    Try:
    The Luminaries
    by Eleanor Catton

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