Emma Donoghue is an acclaimed writer whose novels include the international bestsellers Room and The Wonder. She wrote the short story ‘Turmagant’ in Virago’s recent collection of short stories, Furies, and her upcoming novel, Learned By Heart, publishes on 24th August 2023. On this episode, Emma and Lucy Scholes dive into the varied cultural reach of novels, short stories and films, the genius of Angela Carter, the long overdue recognition of Anne Lister and how the ‘Barbie’ film masters trickle-down feminism for young children.
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On the nightstand – books that are currently on your bedside table
One book of short stories, Angela Carter’s brilliant Black Venus. And one non-fiction – Decoding Anne Lister: From the Archives to ‘Gentleman Jack’, the first collection of essays about the extraordinary diarist, edited by my partner Chris Roulston and Caroline Gonda.
On your mind – a recent article, podcast, film, series or song
BARBIE, a great example of trickle-down feminism, explaining patriarchy to eight-year-olds better than anything else has.
On the shelf – one book that made you think about feminism in a new way
It has to be Caroline Criado Perez, Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men.
On the pedestal – tell us about one person (woman or non-binary) you admire
Having dug up the facts of the tragic life of Anne Lister’s first love, Eliza Raine (1791-1860), for my new novel Learned by Heart, I have huge admiration for the way she fought to make a life for herself as an independent biracial spinster in Regency Yorkshire.
Special 50th Anniversary question – what one Virago book would you pass on? (Your Golden Apple).
’m going to choose an example of the kind of obscure, brilliant, women-centred book I’m most grateful to Virago for publishing because I don’t think I’d ever have come across it otherwise: Modern Classic #142, Eveline Mahyère’s I Will Not Serve, the French author’s only novel, posthumously published in 1958 and reissued by Virago in 1984
Tune in next time for more conversation about books, feminism and culture.
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