How to pronounce Emma Donoghue: don-a-hue
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), Hood (1995), Slammerkin (2000), Life Mask (2004), Landing (2007), The Sealed Letter (2008), Room (2010), Frog Music (2014).
This biography was last updated on 04/04/2016.
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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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