Author Emma Donoghue, known for her work Room, which was made into an Oscar-Winning feature film, will be appearing at DeBaun Auditorium (Stevens Institute of Technology) on Thursday, September 22 at 7 p.m.
The Wonder, Donoghue’s latest masterpiece, is a a powerful psychological thriller in which an English nurse comes to a small Irish village to observe a miraculous girl is said to have survived without food for months. Yet the nurse soon finds herself fighting to save the child’s life.
Donoghue was nice enough to chat with hMAG leading up to Thursday’s event…
hMAG: Congratulations on all you’re achieving as an author. Writers obviously have faith in their projects, but has the scale of your success surprised you in any way?
Emma Donoghue: I was overwhelmed by the success of Room—the book and the film, yes. I feel incredibly lucky that I hit on a storyline that so touches people across the world, and that (in particular because I had two small children when I got the idea) I was the right person to write it.
H: Is it the place in history from which you write that serves as the somber backdrop, or do you see your historical tales as being allegorical of contemporary conditions?
ED: The moment of a novel like The Wonder—the 1850s—isn’t a mere backdrop, nor am I writing about ‘now’ disguised as ‘then’ (though of course if the story is interesting at all, it’ll be relevant to today). I don’t feel that setting a novel in another era than ours needs explaining. Why stick to my era any more than to the part of the world where I happen to live?
H: Ireland, your native land is in the midst of a sea change in terms of social policy—at least at the surface. What is your a long-term outlook for the progressive movement in Ireland?
ED: Very hopeful; we’ve come so far in just a few decades, often skipping the painful in-between stages (for instance, we went from criminalizing homosexuality to protecting LGBTQs legislatively in a couple of years).
H: As we’re honored to have you here in town, this is where we attempt to make a tenuous Hoboken connection… Your Slammerkin deals with the plight of a young woman and an unwanted pregnancy. While set in Paris, Poe’s Mystery of Marie Roget is actually based on events that occurred here in Hoboken. Are you familiar with the incident at Cybil’s Cave?
ED: I’d read of the murder of Mary Rogers in Bill James’s highly entertaining history Popular Crime, but forgotten the Hoboken connection!
Emma Donoghue will be appearing a few blocks southwest of Cybil’s Cave this Thursday, at DeBaun Auditorium. CLICK HERE for information, or stop by Little City Books (100 Bloomfield Street, Hoboken).