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A Quick Rundown of Irish Lesbian Author Emma Donoghue's Books for St Patrick's Day

HAPPY ST PATRICK'S DAY! What better way to celebrate than quickly running through an Irish lesbian author's work with little tidbits about each book.

I googled "lesbian st patricks day"

These aren't all of Emma Donoghue's books, but it's a LOT of them, because when there is an out lesbian author who is even halfway good, you read her shit. And Emma Donoghue is more than halfway good, so there y'go.

Slammerkin is INTERESTING because it's about this girl in the 18th century who wants more out of life and basically gets thrown around London until she winds up working for a lady and there is a SURPRISE ENDING. It makes you feel like you know what it was like to live in the 18th century, which is awesome, and it's based on a newspaper article Emma Donoghue found while just casually perusing an 18th century newspaper, because Emma Donoghue is a giant nerd.

Landing is basically a romcom novel about a Canadian girl falling in love with an Irish flight attendant lady and I WOULD LIKE TO POINT OUT that Emma Donoghue is an Irish girl who fell in love with a Canadian lady and moved to Canada. Emma Donoghue was never a flight attendant, as far as I know. More generally, it's about long distance relationships and the problems and joys that come with them, and also the main character works in a tiny museum, and <3 to people who work in tiny museums.

(visit today!)

The Sealed Letter
The Sealed Letter is set in the 19th century and concerns a real life scandalous divorce case, all revolving around this letter. I remember this book as being "fine not great." I think, however, that it was when I was trying to read All the Lesbian Fiction, and as the main lady in this is being divorced for banging another dude than her husband, it seriously disappointed on the lesbian fiction front. So maybe as historical fiction it is GREAT.

Frog Music
Frog Music is INTERESTING, and was written after I essentially asked ED at a signing if she'd sold out to the hetero crowd after the success of Room (I WAS CONCERNED). It's a historical novel, but mostly about San Francisco in the 1870s and a young lady being shot to death (scandalous!). It's less lesbian novel and more murder mystery, but there is a gay lady IN IT, so huzzahs all around.

Kissing the Witch
I am in fact a much bigger fan of Donoghue's short stories than her novels. This takes classic fairy tales and not only weaves them together with a through-line, but also queers them up a bit, which I am 100% here for. Kissing the Witch might be my favorite ED book.

this is from Neil Gaiman's The Sleeper and the Spindle but
lesbian fairytalesssss

The Woman Who Gave Birth to Rabbits
This is a collection of short stories, all based on historical minutiae that Donoghue found while doing her aforementioned nerd research. The woman who gave birth to rabbits is a little well known, but Donoghue takes all her subjects and makes them into living people again through her stories. Again, her short stories are A+.

Astray is her latest short story collection and again uses historical episodes to inspire each story. What's extra-great about this is if you're really interested in one of the stories, you can use it as a jumping off point to learn more. And who doesn't like doing more historical research!

Donoghue started her career as an academic, and has a few books in that vein: Passions Between Women concerns "British Lesbian Culture 1668-1801" so I know you're all going to jump on that one, and Inseparable is "desire between women in literature," so ditto. They're both quite good, and pair pretty well with Lillian Faderman's Surpassing the Love of Men (my review of which can be found here).

So HAPPY ST PATRICK'S DAY TO ALL, and enjoy this Irish lesbian fiction.


  1. I need to read way more Donoghue. Maybe I'll try the short stories


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