Exclusive: Room screenwriter Emma Donoghue on how her family, her research into autism, her religious background and a real-life abduction all informed her story

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Audiences and critics alike have been singing the praises of Room — which concerns a five-year-old boy who has spent his entire life inside a garden shed, and the mother who is trapped in there with him — since it premiered at the Telluride film festival last month. I had the privilege of speaking to Emma Donoghue, who wrote both the film and the novel it is based on, when Room came to the Vancouver film festival, where it won the award for most popular Canadian feature. (The film is an Irish-Canadian co-production, and Donoghue herself was born in Ireland but now lives in Canada.) The first part of that (spoiler-filled) interview is here, and the rest of it is below.

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Farewell to Crescent Beach.

Two of my kids are autistic, so for the past three years we have been taking one or both of them to a special preschool for autistic children in a beautifully scenic neighbourhood called Crescent Beach. Yesterday, however, that era came to an end. One of my kids still has a year of preschool to go, but the preschool itself is moving to a new location… so, after three years of making the half-hour trek there and back three times a week, we said goodbye.

And the reason I mention it here? Because there’s a movie connection, sort of! One of the houses that lines the walkway at Crescent Beach was featured in Tron Legacy (2010), as the house where Flynn tells a bedtime story to his young son Sam.

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