Though frequently mistaken for a Women’s Studies student, I’ve only actually taken 2 WoStud courses during the seven years (give or take) that I attended university. The first was an intro to indigenous women in Canada, where I met one of the the best friends I’ve ever had. The second was an upper level course on Irish women, which was way beyond my academic level but to which I gained entry by emailing the prof about my adventures in hitchhiking around Ireland two years previously. In retrospect, the prof shouldn’t have let that substitute for actual experience in academic research/writing/analysis, but whatever. She turned out to be tediously euro-centric and upper-class-focused in her ideas anyway, so we would have clashed on that if my own lack of comprehension hadn’t gotten in the way.
However, what was rad about the course was that aside from the readings taken from journal articles, we read novels. And one of those novels was Hood, by Emma Donoghue. And that book, my friends, is pretty much my favourite ever. If you read the description, you might think that it’s sad sad sad, since it deals with the death of the protagonist’s lover, but instead it’s funny, smart, a wee bit tender, and simply thought-provoking.
Emma Donoghue had just moved to Canada that year, and she came to our class to talk about the novel, which made me love it even more: She expanded on the themes of religion, family, body size, and identity that flow through her story, showing how much greater her sense of nuance is than I ever thought possible.
With that in mind, I was stoked to hear this morning that Emma Donoghue’s newest novel, Room, is up for the Booker. Irish queers, represent! Well, okay, I’m Irish by ethnic descent as opposed to nationality, but I barely believe in nation states anyway, and really, since Oats is taking my good Irish surname and our kids will have it too, reading about the success of Emma Donoghue makes me feel extra-Irish, as well as extra queer.