Irish author Emma Hannigan, a bestselling novelist who also chronicled her long battle with cancer in the 2011 memoir Talk to the Headscarf (updated and reissued in 2017 as All to Live For: Fighting Cancer, Finding Hope), died March 3. She was 45. The author of 13 books, Hannigan's novels include her most recent, Letters to My Daughters, as well as Designer Genes, The Summer Guest, The Secrets We Share, The Wedding Promise and The Perfect Gift.
In a statement expressing "deep sadness" upon learning of her death, Hachette Ireland and Headline--her publishers in Ireland and the U.S. respectively--said, "We had the immense pleasure and privilege of working with Emma through these past years, publishing both her fiction and nonfiction, and her courage, her generosity of spirit, and her love enveloped us all.
"Emma's writing carried her through tough times. It allowed her an escape and, in turn, she created vibrant, colorful worlds to which her readers could escape--and her talent, imagination, her unique warmth and humor is evident on each and every page of her novels. Emma loved every aspect of being an author: from meeting booksellers and baking treats for them on signing tours, to the friendships she had with fellow authors, to creating brilliantly colorful stories and characters, and of course, she loved her readers. She would often share positive e-mails with us 'her team' because that was Emma: selfless and always wishing to share her success and happiness. Emma Hannigan will be greatly missed for her stories, for her voice as an author, and as a friend."
An ambassador for Breast Cancer Ireland, Hannigan shared her personal experience with readers, including an inspirational blog post last month titled "All good things must come to an end," which began: "The time that I knew was borrowed must be given back soon, so it seems. The conversation I never wanted to have has been said. My medical team have thrown everything but the kitchen sink at this fight but all avenues have now been exhausted." The blog post received incredible reaction in the media and on social media. Hannigan followed up with a post requesting that people donate to Breast Cancer Ireland, which has subsequently raised more than €100,000 (about $123,290).
Hannigan died "just days after her latest novel, Letters to My Daughters, reached number one in Ireland's book charts, following a campaign by fellow Irish authors to propel her to the top spot," the Bookseller reported, adding that the campaign "was supported by authors including Marian Keyes and Carmel Harrington, and Irish independent bookseller Dubray Books further pledged to donate all profits from its sales of the title 'to support anyone who has been touched by cancer.' "