A Conversation with Emma Donoghue

A Conversation with Emma Donoghue

A Conversation with Emma Donoghue

Aug 11 @ 5:30 PM - 6:45 PM MT 

Don't miss this lively conversation with acclaimed novelist, screenwriter, and playwright Emma Donoghue about her new novel The Pull of the Stars, a timely portrait of a world beset by pandemic and political uncertainty. Emma's first Wordfest's appearance was at our 2000 fall festival, and we are thrilled to be hosting one of your favourites once again as we explore her latest best-selling novel.

“Searing… Donoghue’s evocation of the 1918 flu, and the valor it demands of health-care workers, will stay with readers.” — Publishers Weekly
“Eerily relevant” - Elle (Canada)

The pre-show reel will begin at 5:20 PM MT. The 45-minute interview will start at 5:30 PM MT and will be hosted by Shelley Youngblut, Wordfest's CEO & Creative Ringleader. (As a bonus, if you stay tuned, Shelley will be giving you an insider's preview of Wordfest's fall season, including our anniversary celebration 25@25.)

This live stream event is free but if you RSVP, we'll send you a reminder along with easy instructions to help you get set up, as well as our unique Digital Doggie Bag after the event with all the links, goodies and references from the conversation.

We are so grateful to Harper Collins Canada for making it possible for us to connect with Emma Donoghue, who has pre-signed copies of The Pull of the Stars that are available exclusively through Calgary's Owl's Nest Books

About The Pull of the Stars

Dublin, 1918: three days in a maternity ward at the height of the Great Flu. A small world of work, risk, death and unlooked-for love, by the bestselling author of The Wonder and ROOM.

In an Ireland doubly ravaged by war and disease, Nurse Julia Power works at an understaffed hospital in the city center, where expectant mothers who have come down with the terrible new Flu are quarantined together. Into Julia's regimented world step two outsiders — Doctor Kathleen Lynn, on the run from the police, and a young volunteer helper, Bridie Sweeney.

In the darkness and intensity of this tiny ward, over three days, these women change each other's lives in unexpected ways. They lose patients to this baffling pandemic, but they also shepherd new life into a fearful world. With tireless tenderness and humanity, carers and mothers alike somehow do their impossible work.

In The Pull of the Stars, Emma Donoghue once again finds the light in the darkness in this new classic of hope and survival against all odds.

About Emma Donoghue

Born in Dublin in 1969, Emma Donoghue is an Irish emigrant twice over: she spent eight years in Cambridge, England, before moving to Canada's London, Ontario. She 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.



  • “Emma Donoghue’s ‘The Pull of the Stars’ sets a gripping story in the midst of the 1918 flu pandemic” — The Washington Post
  • “Emma Donoghue wrote her terrifying pandemic novel before COVID, thanks very much“ — Los Angeles Times
  • “Emma Donoghue's new novel, The Pull of the Stars, shows how pandemics—like the 1918 flu—can be woven into history.“ — Wired
  • “The Pull of the Stars by Emma Donoghue review – fighting the 1918 flu pandemic.“ — The Guardian