Emma Donoghue: Background information when reading Room

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Room

A Novel

by Emma Donoghue

Room by Emma Donoghue
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  • First Published:
    Sep 2010, 336 pages
    Paperback:
    May 2011, 352 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Judy Krueger

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About this Book

Beyond the Book:
Emma Donoghue

Print Review

Emma DonoghueEmma Donoghue is an award-winning Irish writer who lives in Canada. She has published seven novels, three collections of short stories, three works of non-fiction and various productions for stage, radio and screen. 

In her own words: "Born in Dublin, Ireland, in October 1969, I am the youngest of eight children of Frances and Denis Donoghue (the literary critic, Henry James Professor at New York University). I attended Catholic convent schools in Dublin, apart from one eye-opening year in New York at the age of ten.  In 1990 I earned a first-class honours BA in English and French from University College Dublin (unfortunately, without learning to actually speak French). I moved to England, and in 1997 received my PhD (on the concept of friendship between men and women in eighteenth-century English fiction) from the University of Cambridge. From the age of 23, I have earned my living as a writer, and have been lucky enough to never have an "honest job" since I was sacked after a month as a chambermaid. After years of commuting between England, Ireland, and Canada, in 1998 I settled in London, Ontario, where I live with my lover Chris Roulston and our son Finn and daughter Una."

Room was shortlisted for the 2010 Man Booker Prize, but lost to Howard Jacobson's The Finkler Question.

Her novels prior to Room 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 provocative drama of friends, lovers, and divorce, based on a scandalous divorce case that gripped England in 1864.

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Article by Judy Krueger

This article was originally published in September 2010, and has been updated for the May 2011 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.

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