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Emma Donoghue

Author of Room

36+ Works 30,469 Members 1,773 Reviews 42 Favorited

About the Author

Emma Donoghue was born on October 24, 1969 in Dublin, Ireland. She received her BA degree from the University College Dublin and PhD in English from University of Cambridge. Her first novel was Stir. Her next novel was Hood which won the 1997 American Library Association's Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual show more Book Award for Literature. Her novel Slammerkin was a finalist in the 2001 Irish Times Irish Literature Prize for Fiction. The Sealed Letter, published in 2008, is a work of historical fiction. This work was the joint winner of the 2009 Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Fiction. She continued writing several award winning novels including Room which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in September 2010. Some of her other works include Astray, Three and a Half Deaths, and Frog Music. (Bowker Author Biography) show less
Image credit: Emma Donoghue © Mark Raynes Roberts, 2015.


Works by Emma Donoghue

Room (2010) 14,448 copies, 978 reviews
Slammerkin (2000) 2,499 copies, 92 reviews
The Wonder (2016) 2,344 copies, 164 reviews
The Pull of the Stars (2020) 1,585 copies, 95 reviews
Frog Music (2014) 1,523 copies, 96 reviews
Kissing the Witch: Old Tales in New Skins (1997) 1,190 copies, 41 reviews
The Sealed Letter (2008) 901 copies, 46 reviews
Life Mask (2004) 814 copies, 19 reviews
Astray (2012) 740 copies, 42 reviews
Akin (2019) 613 copies, 39 reviews
Hood (1995) 484 copies, 13 reviews
The Woman Who Gave Birth to Rabbits (2002) 455 copies, 20 reviews
Haven (2022) 450 copies, 36 reviews
Stir-Fry (1994) 449 copies, 11 reviews
Landing (2007) 380 copies, 23 reviews
The Lotterys Plus One (2017) 284 copies, 20 reviews
Learned by Heart (2023) 255 copies, 12 reviews
Touchy Subjects (2006) 222 copies, 11 reviews
Room [2015 film] (2016) — Screenwriter/Original book — 112 copies, 3 reviews
The Mammoth Book of Lesbian Short Stories (1999) — Editor — 95 copies
Poems Between Women (1997) — Editor — 93 copies
The Lotterys More or Less (2018) — Author — 59 copies, 2 reviews
We Are Michael Field (1998) 54 copies, 2 reviews
Halfway to Free (2020) 39 copies, 4 reviews
Three and a Half Deaths (2011) 11 copies, 1 review
Signatories (2016) 5 copies
Vanitas 1 copy

Associated Works

Patience and Sarah (1969) — Introduction, some editions — 778 copies, 18 reviews
Like a Charm: A Novel in Voices (2004) — Contributor — 322 copies, 8 reviews
Reader, I Married Him: Stories Inspired by Jane Eyre (2016) — Contributor — 303 copies, 22 reviews
The Penguin Book of Lesbian Short Stories (1993) — Contributor — 300 copies, 2 reviews
Time After Time (1983) — Introduction, some editions — 275 copies, 7 reviews
Ladies' Night at Finbar's Hotel (1999) — Contributor — 219 copies, 3 reviews
How Beautiful the Ordinary: Twelve Stories of Identity (2009) — Contributor — 217 copies, 8 reviews
Fourteen Days: A Collaborative Novel (2022) — Contributor — 201 copies, 9 reviews
This Is My Best: Great Writers Share Their Favorite Work (2004) — Contributor — 163 copies, 3 reviews
The Penguin Book of Irish Fiction (1999) — Contributor — 151 copies
The Vintage Book of International Lesbian Fiction (1999) — Contributor — 77 copies, 2 reviews
Furies: Stories of the wicked, wild and untamed (2023) — Contributor — 74 copies, 1 review
Granta 135: New Irish Writing (2014) — Contributor — 73 copies, 3 reviews
Hers³: Brilliant New Fiction by Lesbian Writers (1999) — Contributor — 70 copies
Love & Sex (2001) — Contributor — 69 copies, 3 reviews
Best Lesbian Erotica 2007 (2006) — Introduction — 67 copies
The Oxford Book of Historical Stories (1994) — Contributor — 41 copies
The Anchor Book of New Irish Writing (2000) — Contributor — 39 copies
Diva Book of Short Stories (2000) — Contributor — 34 copies
No Margins: Canadian Fiction in Lesbian (2006) — Contributor — 31 copies, 1 review
Circa 2000: Lesbian Fiction at the Millennium (2000) — Contributor — 28 copies
New Irish Short Stories (2011) — Contributor — 21 copies, 3 reviews
The Art of the Glimpse: 100 Irish Short Stories (2020) — Contributor — 18 copies, 1 review
Groundswell: The Second Diva Book of Short Stories (2002) — Contributor — 17 copies
Red: The Waterstones Anthology (2012) — Contributor — 5 copies
Out of Line: Women on the Verge of a Breakthrough — Contributor — 1 copy, 1 review


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Common Knowledge

Ireland (Birth)
Dublin, Ireland
Places of residence
Dublin, Ireland
London, Ontario, Canada
England, UK
New York, New York, USA
University College Dublin (BA)
University of Cambridge (PhD)
literary historian
Donoghue, Denis (father)
Roulston, Christine (life partner)
Short biography
Born in Dublin, Ireland, in October 1969, I am the youngest of eight children of Frances and Denis Donoghue (the literary critic). 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 single summer month as a chambermaid. After years of commuting between England, Ireland, and Canada, in 1998 I settled in London, Ontario, where I live with Christine Roulston and our son Finn (12) and daughter Una (9).



May 2019: Emma Donoghue in Monthly Author Reads (June 2019)
Room by Emma Henderson in Orange January/July (June 2012)


Not my style. I didn't like it.
kwagnerroberts | 41 other reviews | Jun 24, 2024 |
A difficult but highly engaging story. I hated what was happening to Anna but couldn’t make myself put the book down. Excellent writing, though I can’t see myself wanting to return to this cruel world.
dinahmine | 163 other reviews | Jun 17, 2024 |
The tension between science and faith is a very salient one and it is exactly this that drives a lot of the action in Emma Donoghue's The Wonder. Florence Nightingale-trained English nurse Lib Wright is sent out to a village in rural Ireland to help determine what is going on with 11 year-old Anna O'Donnell. The claim is that the child hasn't taken any earthly nourishment since her birthday...four months prior. Lib and another nurse, a nun, are engaged by a council of local citizens to monitor little Anna in shifts, to watch her for two straight weeks to see if her claims are true or if she has, in fact, been eating somehow.

Lib, coming from a more scientific perspective, is sure that the child has been consuming food. She's suspicious of her fellow nurse and the entire O'Donnell family because of their Catholicism, which she believes blinds them to the reality that bodies need food to continue functioning. She institutes strict control over Anna's routine immediately, stopping a flow of visitors that have come to see the little miracle girl. But over the first week, she softens toward the girl herself even as she continues to try to figure out how she's eating. Anna is a sweet, obedient, faithful child, still mourning the recent loss of an older brother, her only sibling. She finds herself wondering if it might somehow be real, if maybe Anna is surviving off of what she says she is: manna from heaven. But Anna starts to take a turn for the worse, and Lib has to figure out what's going on and if she can somehow be saved.

This book was such a disappointment. It indulged in what is one of my least favorite plot devices...to create tension and an atmosphere of suspense, it backloads all the payoff into the end of the book. So, basically, it crawls along with about 25% for about 75% of the book, and then stuffs the last 25% of the book with 75% of the plot. I've never enjoyed consuming books or movies that do this, I think it's a sign of lazy storytelling (which is probably why I don't read a lot of mysteries or thrillers, because it's much more common in those genres). In this case, some of that stuff did need to be left until the end, but there were some revelations about Lib's personal life that could have provided some badly-needed character development up front without compromising the reveals toward the end. And that's not the only example of lazy writing: when a sparkly-eyed, charming reporter shows up at the same rooming house Lib is staying at, it would take an idiot to not recognize that he's going to be a love interest, which is of course exactly what happens. And though good quality prose could have done a lot to make the story flow more smoothly, Donoghue's writing is utilitarian at best. I did not enjoy reading it and would not recommend it.
… (more)
ghneumann | 163 other reviews | Jun 14, 2024 |
Not what I expected. This was a book told from the eyes of a 5 yr old.
You find out that his mother was abducted when she was 19 and forced to live in a 1 room shed. There she has Jack and you follow him from his 5th birthday on.

It was jarring to read from such a young perspective, I honestly don't think that he would be quite so simplistic about certain things. Here again, it has been quite a while since I was 5, so it might be accurate and I just have no recollection.

It was hard for me to get into this book; I was afraid what I would read. I started reading it for a book club not knowing that there is a movie out based on it. I wouldn't mind seeing the movie to get a better idea of Room and the life that he and his mother lived.… (more)
CagedNymph | 977 other reviews | Jun 14, 2024 |



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