When bestselling Irish author Emma Hannigan shared the heartbreaking news of her terminal cancer diagnosis earlier this month, she called on readers to support her by donating to Breast Cancer Ireland. Her fellow writers had another idea though, and thanks to their heartwarming campaign to launch her book to the top of the charts, Hannigan's novel Letters to My Daughter is a No. 1 bestseller.
It's no secret that there is a lot of fierce rivalries in the book world — Truman Capote bashed Jack Kerouac on TV, and Norman Mailer famously insulted Gore Vidal to his face during an appearance on The Dick Cavett Show, just to name a few. For every famous author feud, though, there is an example of the many amazing ways in which writers lift each other up, rather than tear each other down, and Letters to My Daughter becoming a bestseller is proof of exactly that.
In 2005, after finding out she carried BrCa1, Emma Hannigan was inspired to start writing. In the 13 years since, the bestselling author has published over a dozen novels, including a memoir about her experience with cancer, Talk to the Head Scarf. She has also had a double mastectomy, pre-emptively removed both of her ovaries, and was still diagnosed and treated for cancer 10 times. Earlier this month, Hannigan shared the news that "all avenues have now been exhausted" in her battle against cancer.
“Farewell and thank you, I am taking a bow. Until we meet again may all that is good and decent be yours,” Hannigan wrote in a post on her author blog Feb. 16 titles "All Good Things Must Come to an End." Her devastating note went on to thank her readers for their support over the years, impart some life advice, and talk about her new book, Letters to My Daughters, a title the author said she is "immensely proud of."
After learning of Hannigan's devastating news, fellow writers launched a social media campaign on behalf of the author's final novel. Irish novelist Anna McPartlin took to Twitter to ask readers and other authors to support Letters to My Daughters. "Emma can't promote her work herself," her tweet read, "so please join us. But it. Read it. Promote it." She tagged several other authors, and soon enough, there were dozens of writers promoting Hannigan's final novel, including Liz Nugent, Cecelia Ahern, and Marian Keyes. There ultimate goal: to get Letters to My Daughters to the number one spot on the bestseller list.
When Hannigan's final novel became an official bestseller this week, several authors shared the good news on Twitter, and thanked one another for the mutual support of their fellow author.
According to Nielsen, an official book sales monitor, Letters to My Daughter sold 4,065 copies over the last week, giving it an impressive 2,171 lead over Ireland's second bestseller, Cathy Kelly's The Year That Changed Everything. At bookstores across the country, Hannigan's novel is at the top of the charts, according to the author's longtime agent, Sheila Crowley. Most notably, Letters to My Daughter landed the No. 1 spot on Dubray Books bestseller list. The independent bookseller has pledged to donate all of the profits from it to Breast Cancer Ireland in honor of Hannigan.
Hannigan might be out of treatment options, but the author isn't letting her terminal diagnosis slow her down. On social media, Hannigan has been working tirelessly to raise €100,000 (about $122,000) for Breast Cancer Ireland with the hashtag #HelpEmmaHelpOthers. On Wednesday, she announced that she reached her fundraising goal. "Thank you so much," her tweet read, "please keep those donations coming in and don't stop until we reach the top."
Letters to My Daughters isn't available in the U.S., but if you want to show your support for Hannigan, you can find out how to donate to Breast Cancer Ireland in the author's name.