Emma Donoghue Biography & Facts
Emma Donoghue (born 24 October 1969) is an Irish-Canadian playwright, literary historian, novelist, and screenwriter. Her 2010 novel Room was a finalist for the Booker Prize and an international best-seller. Donoghue's 1995 novel Hood won the Stonewall Book Award and Slammerkin (2000) won the Ferro-Grumley Award for Lesbian Fiction. She is a 2011 recipient of the Alex Awards. Room was adapted by Donoghue into a film of the same name. For this, she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.
Donoghue was born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1969. The youngest of eight children, she is the daughter of Frances (born Rutledge) and academic and literary critic Denis Donoghue. She has a first-class honours Bachelor of Arts degree from University College Dublin (in English and French) and a PhD in English from Girton College, Cambridge. While at Cambridge she lived in a women's co-operative, an experience which inspired her short story "The Welcome". Her thesis was on friendship between men and women in 18th-century fiction.At Cambridge, she met her future wife, Christine Roulston, a Canadian who is now professor of French and Women's Studies at the University of Western Ontario. They moved permanently to Canada in 1998 and Donoghue became a Canadian citizen in 2004. She lives in London, Ontario, with Roulston and their two children.
Influences and approach to writing
Donoghue has spoken of the importance of the writing of Emily Dickinson, of Jeanette Winterson's novel The Passion and Alan Garner's Red Shift in the development of her work. She says that she aims to be "industrious and unpretentious" about the process of writing, and that her working life has changed since having children.
Stir Fry and Hood
Donoghue's first novel was 1994's Stir Fry, a contemporary coming of age novel about a young Irish woman discovering her sexuality. It was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award in 1994. This was followed in 1995 by Hood, another contemporary story, this time about an Irish woman coming to terms with the death of her girlfriend. Hood won the 1997 American Library Association's Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Book Award for Literature (now known as the Stonewall Book Award for Literature).
Slammerkin (2000) is a historical novel set in London and Wales. Inspired by an 18th-century newspaper story about a young servant who killed her employer and was executed, the protagonist is a prostitute who longs for fine clothes. It was a finalist in the 2001 Irish Times Irish Literature Prize for Fiction and was awarded the 2002 Ferro-Grumley Award for Lesbian Fiction (despite a lack of lesbian content).
Her 2007 novel, Landing, portrays a long-distance relationship between a Canadian curator and an Irish flight attendant.
The Sealed Letter
The Sealed Letter (2008), another work of historical fiction, is based on the Codrington Affair, a scandalous divorce case that gripped Britain in 1864. The protagonist is Emily Faithfull. The Sealed Letter was longlisted for the Giller Prize, and was joint winner, with Chandra Mayor's All the Pretty Girls, of the 2009 Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Fiction.
On 27 July 2010, Donoghue's novel Room was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and on 7 September 2010 it made the shortlist. On 2 November 2010, it was announced that Room had been awarded the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize. Room was also shortlisted for the 2010 Governor General's Awards in Canada, and was the winner of the Irish Book Award 2010. It was short-listed for the Orange Prize for Fiction 2011, but lost out to Tea Obreht. Donoghue later wrote the screenplay for a film version of the book, Room (2015), for which she was nominated for an Academy Award, Golden Globe and Bafta Award, and in 2017 adapted it into a play performed at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin.
Donoghue's novel Frog Music, a historical fiction book based on the true story of a murdered 19th-century cross-dressing frog catcher, was published in 2014.
Donoghue's 2016 novel The Wonder was shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize. It describes a case of Anorexia mirabilis in which an English nurse is brought in to observe a fasting girl in a devout Irish family; the after effects of the Crimean War, in which the protagonist served, and the Great Famine, in which the family suffered, cast their shadows.
A film of the novel was released in autumn 2022. Directed by Sebastián Lelio, the screenplay is by Donoghue and Alice Birch, with Florence Pugh in the leading role.
Akin (2019) is a contemporary novel, though with much discussion of events during the Second World War in France. Alex Preston in The Guardian called it "dispiriting".
The Pull of the Stars
Donoghue's novel The Pull of the Stars (2020), written in 2018-2019, was published earlier than originally planned because it was set in the 1918 influenza pandemic in Dublin, Ireland. All the characters were fictional except Dr Kathleen Lynn. The novel received strongly positive reviews from critics and was longlisted for the Giller Prize in 2020.
This novel, published in 2022, is set among monks in the seventh century on Skellig Michael. Hephzibah Anderson, in The Guardian, wrote that "While Haven certainly isn’t her most accessible novel, a flinty kind of hope brightens its satisfying ending. What the reader is likely to take away, however, is the image of a bleak place made still bleaker by human intervention".
Stir Fry (1994)
Life Mask (2004)
The Sealed Letter (2008)
Room (2010) ISBN 978-0-316-12057-9
Frog Music (2014)
The Wonder (2016)
The Lotterys series:
The Lotterys Plus One (2017)
The Lotterys More or Less (2018)
The Pull of the Stars (2020)
Haven (2022)Short stories
Kissing the Witch: Old Tales in New Skins, AKA Kissing the Witch (1997), collection of 13 short stories:
"The Tale of the Shoe", "The Tale of the Bird", "The Tale of the Rose", "The Tale of the Apple", "The Tale of the Handkerchief", "The Tale of the Hair", "The Tale of the Brother", "The Tale of the Spinster", "The Tale of the Cottage", "The Tale of the Skin", "The Tale of the Needle", "The Tale of the Voice", "The Tale of the Kiss"
The Woman Who Gave Birth to Rabbits (2002), collection of 17 short stories:
"Acts of Union", "Account", "Ballad", "Come, Gentle Night", "Cured", "Dido", "The Last Rabbit", "The Necessity of Burning", "Revelations", "Salvage", "Night Vision", "Figures of Speech", "A Short Story", "The Fox on the Line", "How a Lady Dies", "Looking for Petronilla", "Words for Things"
Touchy Subjects (2006), collection of 19 short stories:
"The Dormition of the Virgin", "Baggage", "WritOr", "Lavender's Blue", "Through the Night", "The Man Who Wrote on Beaches", "Do They Know It's Christmas", "Good Deed", "The Sanctuary of Hands", "Necessary Noise", "Pluck", "Team Men", "Enchantment", "The Welcome", "O.... Discover the Emma Donoghue popular books. Find the top 100 most popular Emma Donoghue books.