The bestselling author of Room is back with a new novel, The Wonder. We caught up with her to talk literary loves.
Your latest book, The Wonder, a psychological thriller set in the 1850s, is inspired by real cases of ‘fasting girls’ [young girls who stop eating, but remain alive]. What drew you to this subject?
Curiosity and compassion, I suppose. The phenomenon is about religion, food, gender – all our culture’s unwritten rules.
Your books are eclectic – historical novels, contemporary fiction, short stories and literary histories. Do the different styles bring their own challenges?
Yes, and switching between them – not just different content but different ways of working, some more collaborative than others – keeps me on my toes and wards off boredom, or writer’s block.
You adapted the screenplay for the film Room, from your own book, and were nominated for an Oscar for it. That must have been quite a journey! How did you find the whole experience?
Delightful. I kept expecting to have the classic embittering experience of a novelist who goes into the film industry… but I didn’t. The thing I did right was to pick a director [Lenny Abrahamson] I could trust on every level, from an honest and direct working relationship to his taste in the final edit.
Who are your literary heroes?
Novelists, such as Margaret Atwood, Jane Smiley, Michael Chabon or Neal Stephenson, who don’t let anyone tell them what to write about or what genre to write it in.
What was the last book you read?
Katharine Scherman’s The Flowering of Ireland: Saints, Scholars & Kings.
Can you tell us about your next project?
I’m working on the film script for Frog Music, based on my last novel.
At The White Company, ‘white space’ represents a calm and creative environment. What does your ‘white space’ look like?
A messy office at home, where all I look at is my screen.
Discover more about Emma’s work at: emmadonoghue.com
The Wonder by Emma Donoghue (Picador) is out now
For your chance to win a signed copy of The Wonder, simply enter your details below. Competition ends 20th October 2016.