Emma Hannigan's publisher confirms release date of her last novel written in run-up to her passing

Emma Hannigan's publisher confirms release date of her last novel written in run-up to her passing

By Sarah Slater

Author Emma Hannigan's final novel, written in the final months of her life prior to her death last March, is to be published next year.

The award-winning novelist, who had 14 books published, and mother of two teenagers died on March 3 following a very public 11-year battle with breast cancer.

The Wicklow native’s social media post on February 16 describing how she was losing her cancer battle saw an outpouring of emotion from thousands of Irish fans and authors from around the world.

Her husband Cian, posted on Emma’s official Facebook page saying, “Today is Emma’s birthday. It’s hard to believe that six months have already passed since she left us.

“We miss her love, her ever-generous spirit and, of course, her wicked sense of humour. We’ve always felt that Emma wrote so that a part of her would always be with us.

“So we are very happy to tell you that Emma left us one last gift, her final book. The Gift of Friends, is a story of joy and friendship, love and light.

“As Emma said, ‘When it comes down to the wire, all that matters is love … I will be there in your hearts and you will be in mine.’ We hope you open your hearts and enjoy this very special book. Love and Light. Cian”


Emma’s last book, Letters to My Daughters, went to Number One across several categories on the best selling chart within days of her post.

Hachette Books Ireland, Headline Publishing Group also confirmed that her final novel, The Gift of Friends, will be published on February 28.

Emma's editors, Ciara Doorley and Sherise Hobbs, revealed the first draft of the book was emailed to them in January, and just days before she passed away Emma emailed the acknowledgements for the book.

In 2005, Emma discovered that she was carrying the Brca 1 cancer gene. This meant she had an 85% chance of developing breast cancer and a 50% chance of developing ovarian cancer.

To reduce her risk to 5%, the brave Mum opted for preventative surgery. In 2006 Emma had a double mastectomy and had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed.

However, in 2007, in spite of the surgery, she was diagnosed with cancer for the first time and her lengthy battle ensued.

Emma, who was an ambassador for Breast Cancer Ireland (BCI) appealed to the public to donate to the charity in a bid to raise €100,000 two weeks prior to her death.

The fundraising campaign which began after the late author announced she had terminal cancer raised €126,000.

Emma Hannigan's publisher confirms release date of her last novel written in run-up to her passing

The goal was reached within 10 days of going public that her lengthy efforts to stay alive were coming to an end.

When revealing her devastating news Emma said: “All good things must come to an end. 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.”

She spoke openly about her love for her children, son Sacha, daughter Kim, husband Cian, parents family, friends and fans adding that her love for them has been integral to her life.

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