John Murray is publishing Paula McGrath's second novel, A Difficult History: a book about "running away, growing up and finding out who you are".
John Murray editorial director Mark Richards acquired world rights to the book from Ger Nichol of the Book Bureau, to publish in hardback in July 2017,
A Difficult History follows three women at different stages of their lives: Jasmine, a female boxer who falls foul of a ban on the sport in 1980s Ireland; a gynaecologist in present-day Dublin, who is increasingly frustrated by the constitutional ban on abortion; and Ali, in Maryland, whose mother has recently died and escapes from the grandparents she didn’t know she had.
Richards said: “Paula McGrath is a natural storyteller, and A Difficult History very skilfully braids three narratives into a novel that builds to a hugely moving end – like the fiercely independent Jasmine, a female boxer when to be so in Ireland was illegal, the novel ends up punching you in the gut. But it’s a true pleasure to get to that point; on the way her writing is fluent, intelligent and with a sure and immediate grasp of character. I’m very much hoping we can build on the critical success of her debut novel, and bring Paula to a wider audience.”
McGrath’s first novel, Generation, was published on the inaugural JM Originals list in 2015. Her fiction and non-fiction have appeared in Mslexia, Necessary Fiction, Eclectica, ROPES Galway and Surge, an anthology of new writing from Ireland. She also was shortlisted for the inaugural Maeve Binchy Travel Award in 2014.