Emma Donoghue is the author of 10 novels, including the bestselling Slammerkin (2000) including her latest, Room, which has been longlisted for the Man Booker Prize. She was born in Dublin in 1969, and has been writing books since the age of 23. She moved to Canada in 1998, where she lives with her partner, Chris Roulston, a women’s studies professor, and their two children, Finn (6) and Una (3).
Room was inspired by the Fritzl story and tells the story of Jack and Ma, who are trapped in the room of the title.
Have you ever had a nickname?
Occasionally ‘Emsie’ within the family, but it never stuck.
What’s the first record you ever bought?
A cassette of Fame (to my shame, the tv series, not even the film)
What’s your favourite smell?
What is your favourite room in your house?
Our bedroom – peaceful, white walls, no toys, prospects of books or sleep…
Who was your first kiss and where did it happen?
Miss she’d-kill-me-if-I-named-her, somewhere in Ireland, 1986.
Who was your first love?
A different Miss she’d-kill-me-if-I-named-her.
What are your guilty pleasures?
Too much chocolate. And more-ish TV such as 24 or The L Word.
What would people be surprised to know about you?
Perhaps my extremely flawed table manners.
Who is you closest female friend?
My partner Chris. (It’s a multi-tasking position.)
Do you have any tattoos or piercings?
I pierced my ears late, when pregnant for the first time at 33, but I rarely use them. I’d never consider any further modification: I believe in sticking with the body you’ve got.
Where would you most like to live?
Right now, the place I’m on holiday (and know well), the Port Vendres area in Southern France.
What’s the most unusual question you’ve ever been asked?
I’ve clearly blanked it from my mind in shock.
What’s the best Christmas present you’ve ever received?
Our son Finn came five weeks early, but he was meant to be a Christmas baby rather than a November one, so he’s what stands out.
What is your favourite word?
At this moment, the vegetable we’re having for dinner: samphire.
If you weren’t doing what you do, what might you have become?
A tragedy. (I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t write.)
Is there a book you’ve bought several times as a gift for someone?
Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials.
What happens after we die?
This may sound childish, but: we go to heaven.
What female historical figure do you admire most?
The one who inspired several of my early works: the outrageous, snobbish, quarrelsome Regency diarist Anne Lister.
Sum yourself up in three words:
Impossible, I’m too fond of words to stick to three.
Finally… What are you anti? What are you pro?
Room is out now, published by Picador