Emma Donoghue in conversation with Sir Michael Rutter CBE FRS. This event was organised in partnership with the Royal Society of Literature and was held as part of the 2013 Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition.

Is the understanding of children a science or an art? Emma Donoghue’s seventh novel, Room, which has been garlanded with prizes and has sold over a million copies, explores the mind of a five-year-old, Jack, whose whole world is an 11 ft-square garden shed shared with his mother. Donoghue drew inspiration from ancient myths and from the horrific crimes of Josef Fritzl, but she has described the locked room as ‘a metaphor for the claustrophobic, tender bond of parenthood’, and much of the novel was based on close observation of her son, Finn. In a conversation chaired by Susannah Herbert, former literary editor of The Sunday Times, she talks to Sir Michael Rutter FRS, Professor of Developmental Psychopathology at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London, about the enduring emotional consequences of significant childhood experiences, and the long-term effects of psychological and physical neglect on the development of the brain.

Emma Donoghue is an award-winning author. Sir Michael Rutter CBE FRS is Professor of Developmental Psychopathology at the Institute of Psychiatry. This event is chaired by Susannah Herbert who is Executive Director at the Forward Arts Foundation and former editor of the Sunday Times News Review