Emma Donoghue (born 24 October 1969) is an Irish-born playwright, literary historian and novelist now living in Canada. Her 1995 novel Hood won the Stonewall Book Award and Slammerkin (2000) won the Ferro-Grumley Award for Lesbian Fiction. Her most recent collection of short stories, Touchy Subjects was published in 2006.
Emma Donoghue was born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1969. The youngest of eight children, her father is the academic literary critic Denis Donoghue. She has a first-class honours Bachelor of Arts degree from University College Dublin (in English and French) and a PhD in English from the University of Cambridge. Her thesis was on friendship between men and women in 18th century fiction. While in Cambridge she lived in a women's co-op, an experience which inspired her short story "The Welcome" (collected in Touchy Subjects). In 1998 she moved to Canada and became a Canadian citizen in 2004. She lives in London, Ontario with her partner and their two children.
Donoghue's first novel was 1994's Stir Fry, a contemporary coming of age novel about a young Irish woman discovering her sexuality. It was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award in 1994. This was followed in 1995 by Hood, another contemporary story, this time about an Irish woman coming to terms with the death of her girlfriend. Hood won the 1997 American Library Association's Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Book Award for Literature (now known as the Stonewall Book Award for Literature).
Slammerkin (2000) is a historical novel set in London and Wales. Inspired by an 18th century newspaper story about a young servant who killed her employer and was executed, the protagonist is a prostitute who longs for fine clothes. It was a finalist in the 2001 Irish Times Irish Literature Prize for Fiction and was awarded the 2002 Ferro-Grumley Award for Lesbian Fiction (despite a lack of lesbian content). Her 2007 novel, Landing, portrays a long-distance relationship between a Canadian curator and an Irish flight attendant. The Sealed Letter (2008), Donoghue's latest work of historical fiction, is based on the Codrington Affair, a scandalous divorce case that gripped Britain in 1864. The Sealed Letter was longlisted for the Giller Prize, and was joint winner of the 2009 Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Fiction.
On July 27, 2010, Donoghue's novel Room was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and on September 7, 2010 it made the shortlist. It is also a shortlisted nominee for the 2010 Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize and the 2010 Governor General's Awards in Canada.