Emma Donoghue

Literary Birthday – 24 October – Emma Donoghue

Happy Birthday, Emma Donoghue, born 24 October 1969.

10 Emma Donoghue Quotes

  1. Some writers can produce marvellous plots without planning it out, but I can’t. In particular I need to know the structure of a novel: what’s going to happen in each chapter and each scene.
  2. Any subject we exclude from fiction will drop from our culture’s memory.
  3. A memoir is always the most authentic telling of a situation, but a novel gets to different places.
  4. I read three books a week.
  5. There are some tales not for telling, whether because they are too long, too precious, too laughable, too painful, too easy to need telling or too hard to explain.
  6. I’m named after Jane Austen‘s Emma, and I’ve always been able to relate to her. She’s strong, confident but quite tactless.
  7. The great thing about a short story is that it doesn’t have to trawl through someone’s whole life; it can come in glancingly from the side.
  8. Writers should be applauded for their ability to make things up.
  9. I think the only difference between me and other people is that when I hear of an interesting historical incident, I immediately write it down and Google it.
  10. Writing stories is my way of scratching that itch: my escape from the claustrophobia of individuality. It lets me, at least for a while, live more than one life, walk more than one path. Reading, of course, can do the same.

Emma Donoghue’s 10 Best Books

  1. Alan Garner’s Red Shift is an extraordinary fantasy novel about the same spot in England in Roman, Civil War, and modern times; in my teens this book was a cult for me, and I think it should be rediscovered by all fans of, say, Philip Pullman.
  2. Which leads me to Philip Pullman’s trilogy His Dark Materials — Perhaps the most ambitious ‘“children’s books” (whatever that means) around today.
  3. Emily Dickinson’s Collected Works — Because she’s like a Martian, she has a strange and original take on every aspect of life on Earth.
  4. Sarah Waters’s Affinity — I read it in one sitting on a long night flight over the Atlantic (perhaps the ideal conditions for any book?) and was completely gripped and spooked out by this ghost/love story set in a Victorian prison.
  5. Carol Anshaw’s Aquamarine — A brilliant examination of three ways someone’s life might have gone.
  6. Wilkie Collins’s The Woman in White — A fantastic, tight Victorian thriller about a stolen identity.
  7. Alan Gurganus’s Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All — An extraordinary saga about the Civil War South.
  8. Carol Shields’ The Stone Diaries — A deeply satisfying experiment with many different ways of narrating an ordinary life, and it made me weep hysterically on a train, much to my lover’s embarrassment.
  9. Jane Austen’s Emma — I can’t prove it’s her best, but it’s the one I’m named after, and I strongly identify with her spoiled, arrogant, likeable heroine.
  10. Audrey Niffeneger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife — I’ve only just finished this funny-strange, funny-ha-ha love story, so it’s my latest favourite.

Source: Barnes & Noble

Emma Donoghue is an Irish-born playwright, literary historian, and novelist who lives in Canada. Her 2010 novel Room was a finalist for the Man Booker Prize. It was also adapted for film.

Source for Image


Katrina Afonso, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 24th October 2012