BBC Radio 4

Society & Culture

Led by James Naughtie, a group of readers talk to acclaimed authors about their best-known novels


Emma Donoghue - Room

June 1st, 2014

Episode 388 of 428 episodes

With James Naughtie. Emma Donoghue discusses her novel Room with an invited group of readers. Donoghue, an Irish writer living in Canada, tells the story of a five-year-old boy, Jack, who has been imprisoned with his mother in a tiny room - 11 feet by 11 feet - for his whole life. Emma was inspired to write Room after reading about European kidnapping cases such as the Fritzls in Austria, and so Jack was born into captivity after his mother was taken by a stranger at the age of 19 and held prisoner in a converted garden shed. Told in Jack's voice as he learns of a world outside his small prison, Room was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2010. But Emma says that the premise of the novel is to explore the myths and realities of motherhood and parenting rather than focus on the crime of kidnapping - and one reader tells her how surprised she was find so much humour in the novel. July's Bookclub choice : Who Will Run the Frog Hospital? By Lorrie Moore (1994).