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This month’s featured author is Emma Donoghue.

Born in Dublin in 1969, Emma Donoghue is an Irish emigrant twice over. She spent eight years in Cambridge, England, before moving to Canada’s London, Ontario. She is best known for her novels. They range from the historical (The WonderSlammerkinLife MaskThe Sealed Letter) to the contemporary (AkinStir-FryHoodLanding). Her international bestseller Room was a New York Times Best Book of 2010. It was also a finalist for the Man Booker, Commonwealth, and Orange Prizes. Her screen adaptation, directed by Lenny Abrahamson, was nominated for four Academy Awards.

We all loved Room (clearly, since it sold over two million copies and was made into a highly successful film). But with works stretching back to 1994, and a long and successful career behind (and in front) of her, we choose our three favourite books to highlight for you!

The just released Haven is a literary novel with a cluastraphobic story of three men trying to survive in isolation. Written during covid, it captures blurring days and endless time perfectly.

In seventh-century Ireland, a scholar and priest called Artt has a dream telling him to leave the sinful world behind. Taking two monks – young Trian and old Cormac – he travels down the river Shannon in search of an isolated spot on which to found a monastery. Drifting out into the Atlantic, the three men find an impossibly steep, bare island. It is inhabited by tens of thousands of birds, and they claim it for God. Their extraordinary landing spot is now known as Skellig Michael. But in such a place, far from all other humanity, what will survival mean?

Written before the pandemic, The Pull of The Stars captures the fear of a spreading virus while creating memorable and well-developed characters with distinct voices and complex personalities. It is well worth a read! 

Dublin, 1918.

In a country doubly ravaged by war and disease, Nurse Julia Power works at an understaffed hospital in the city centre. She looks after the expectant mothers, who having come down with an unfamiliar flu, are quarantined together. Into Julia’s regimented world step two outsiders: Doctor Kathleen Lynn, on the run from the police, and a young volunteer helper, Bridie Sweeney.

In the darkness and intensity of this tiny ward, over the course of three days, these women change each other’s lives in unexpected ways. They lose patients to this baffling pandemic. But they also shepherd new life into a fearful world. With tireless tenderness and humanity, carers and mothers alike somehow do their impossible work.

We couldn’t leave Room out of out top three books. It’s a gripping story of survival and love that stays long after you’ve turned the last page. And then you can always watch the movie!

Jack lives in a single room with his Ma. He has never been outside.

When he turns five, he starts to ask questions, and his mother reveals to him that there is a world beyond the walls. 

Told entirely in the language of the energetic, pragmatic Jack, Room is a celebration of resilience and the limitless bond between parent and child, a brilliantly executed novel about what it means to journey from one world to another.