Emma Hannigan's latest novel, Letters To My Daughters, has reached number one in Ireland's book charts, following a campaign by fellow Irish writers to propel her to the top spot after she disclosed "all avenues have been exhausted" in her battle with cancer.
Hannigan’s novel outstripped the competition in Ireland by some way to reach the number one position. In the last week it sold 4,065 copies - more than double the weekly sales of The Year That Changed Everything by Cathy Kelly, which came in at number two after selling 1,893 units.
Authors celebrated Hannigan's achievement on social media. Eithne Shortall, author of Love In Row 27 and chief arts writer for Sunday Times Ireland, said: "Holy smokes! The official Irish book charts are in and Emma Hannigan’s Letters To My Daughters is at number one across all categories with a *phenomonal* 4,065 sold. Thousands ahead of everything else!"
The story, about "the complicated bonds between women - daughters, mothers, sisters - and how love and happiness comes in many guises", was praised by Marian Keyes as "warm, intelligent and brilliant", who had urged as part of the campaign, "Her fellow authors would like to get this great book to No 1 for her."
The 45-year-old mother-of-two, who has been battling cancer for over a decade, has also been successful in her ambition to fundraise €100,000 for Breast Cancer Ireland for whom she is an ambassador.
Confirming the news on her Facebook page on Wednesday afternoon (28th February), a post read: "Our €100,000 goal has been reached. It's never 2 late 2 dream big, keep dreaming. Thank you so much, please keep those donations coming in and don't stop until we reach the top #HelpEmmaHelpOthers".
A few days prior, Hannigan had written on the social media platform: "I’m quite simply blown away by the kindness being shown. More than that, if my story can help raise much needed funds so that less families have to face loosing a loved one, I’d be thrilled. My time is running out, so please help me to help others, if you can."
Independent Dubray Books pledged to donate all profits from its sales of Letters To My Daughters to the Breast Cancer Ireland charity. The book was its bestseller and at one point it sold out of the title, saying the publisher, Hachette Ireland, had been forced to reprint.
A spokesperson for Hachette Ireland commented: "We’re so proud that Emma’s new book is the overall No.1 in Ireland this week, her third fiction No.1 in a row. She is an absolutely wonderful writer and we know that all the many people who have picked up a copy of Letters to My Daughters will take huge pleasure in reading it.
"Emma has been committed to fundraising for Breast Cancer Ireland for many years, and her recent call for donations following her heart-breaking announcement has received a huge response – she has just announced that €100,000 has been raised for the charity."
The spokesperson added: "Emma is such an inspiration, and we hope that Letters to My Daughters reaches many more readers."