Between

It would be convenient, certainly if only I (as an Irishwoman who has lived first in the UK and then in Canada, and writes books set in various parts and centuries of the English-speaking world) could figure out which. Literature is generally classified by nation, and book prizes and many other facets of the publishing-related world too; publicity works most smoothly if a person who lives in X Place has written a book set in X Place. A man at a party, soon after I moved to Canada, warned me darkly that like Brian Moore, I would fall between various stools: never fully appreciated as central to the literary traditions of any of his native lands. That’s probably true – I’m seen as Irish sometimes, Canadian sometimes, even vaguely British sometimes, and I’m probably assumed to be American by the Americans who make up the majority of my readership. But that’s just how it is. I grew up reading books from just about anywhere and I still do; I believe a writer’s imagination carries no passport.

Emma Donoghue

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