Emma Donoghue in Conversation with Laura Spinney


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Tuesday October 27, 2020

There are few moments we feel more connected to the events of 100 years ago—during the Spanish Flu—than as we experience a global pandemic… or when we read Emma Donoghue’s latest work, The Pull of the Stars. Bringing light and hope to a dark subject, the novel centres around three women in an understaffed maternity hospital in Ireland, 1918: a nurse, a doctor on the run, and a young volunteer. As they lose patients to the baffling pandemic, they share humanity amidst their impossible work. Donoghue’s research for this title included reading the work of Laura Spinney—a science journalist and author—whose own book, Pale Rider: The Spanish Flu of 1918 and How it Changed the World, masterfully explores the consequences of the pandemic with insights into some of the individual lives impacted and rich, quirky details. Hear two fascinating minds explore a subject of heightened relevance amidst the celebration of their new titles.

LAURA SPINNEY is a writer and science journalist. Her writing on science has appeared in The Guardian, The Economist, Nature and National Geographic, among others. She is the author of two novels, The Doctor and The Quick, and a collection of oral history, Rue Centrale. In 2017 she published a bestselling non-fiction account of the 1918 influenza pandemic, called Pale Rider: The Spanish Flu of 1918 and How it Changed the World.

Presented in partnership with HarperCollins Canada.

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EMMA DONOGHUE is best known for her novels, which range from the historical (The Wonder, Slammerkin, Life Mask, The Sealed Letter) to the contemporary (Akin, Stir-Fry, Hood, Landing). Her international bestseller Room was a New York Times Best Book of 2010 and was a finalist for the Man Booker, Commonwealth, and Orange Prizes; her screen adaptation, directed by Lenny Abrahamson, was nominated for four Academy Awards.