Writer Of 'Room,' Emma Donoghue, Investigates 'Fasting Girls' In Her New Novel, 'The Wonder'

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Novelist Emma Donoghue. (Courtesy Punch Photographic 2013)
Novelist Emma Donoghue. (Courtesy Punch Photographic 2013)

Novelist Emma Donoghue is perhaps best known for her bestselling novel, "Room." It's about a 5-year-old boy named Jack who's spent his life imprisoned in a tiny shed with his mother. She was abducted by a man seven years earlier.

A film based on the book came out last year, and Donoghue was nominated for an Academy Award for her screenplay.

Now Donoghue has a new novel, "The Wonder." It tells a different kind of story. However it, too, is about a child who is confined and isolated with an adult who watches over her.

"The Wonder" is set in 1850s Ireland. Eleven-year-old Anna O'Donnell has lived without food for four months, and the locals have begun to wonder if her survival is some kind of a miracle — if she's some kind of saint.

They enlist Lib Wright, an English nurse, to sit with the child and watch her, to see if she's really surviving without sustenance, or instead, perpetrating some kind of hoax by sneaking food.

Emma Donoghue will be speaking Friday at the Harvard Book Store. You can also see her Oct. 14 at the Boston Book Festival.


Emma Donoghue, Irish-Canadian playwright, literary historian, novelist, screenwriter. Her latest novel is "The Wonder." She tweets @EDonoghueWriter.

This segment aired on September 23, 2016.


Emma-Jean Weinstein Associate Producer, Radio Boston
Emma-Jean Weinstein was formerly an associate producer for Radio Boston.


Anthony Brooks Senior Political Reporter
Anthony Brooks is WBUR's senior political reporter.



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