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‘I love historical fiction'

16 May 2016

‘I love historical fiction. There are all sorts of historical continuities in life, but the past is always strange. My new novel (Donoghue's first since 2010's Room) is about a little girl in Ireland in the 1850s who doesn't eat, before anorexia was identified. Back then if you had a kid who wasn't eating, all sorts of theories would swirl around her. Some would see her as physically sick, others emotionally sick, others superpowered...

There's a lot of emphasis on the autobiographical in fiction at the moment. It can make you very preoccupied with what you've lived through yourself. I prefer to inhabit other people's lives and worlds. I like it when my readers don't realise they've read three of my books because they think of them as separate stories or styles.'

Emma Donoghue, author of Room and five other novels, in the Observer magazine