John Murray signs Gallen's Factory Girls

John Murray signs Gallen's Factory Girls

John Murray senior commissioning editor Becky Walsh has acquired Michelle Gallen's second novel Factory Girls.

The deal for UK and Commonwealth rights was made with Marianne Gunn O’Connor and John Murray will publish in hardback and e-book on 23rd June 2022.

Set in Northern Ireland in 1994, the novel will follow Maeve and her two friends who get a summer job in the local shirt factory. Once her A-Level results come through, Maeve is planning on escaping to London but as the summer progresses and the marching season begins, tensions start to rise between the Catholic and Protestant workforce, putting Maeve’s chance of escape in jeopardy. 

Gallen's 2020 debut, Big Girl, Small Town (John Murray), was shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award and the Comedy Women in Print Prize. She was also shortlisted for the Newcomer of the Year at the Irish Book Awards.

She commented: "Second novels are notoriously difficult. But with the support of the Arts Council of Ireland and my agent Marianne Gunn O'Connor, I somehow wrote Factory Girls while homeschooling two kids during a pandemic. I'm thrilled to work again with Becky Walsh and the whole team at John Murray to bring Factory Girls into the world."

Walsh said: "I couldn’t be happier to be welcoming Michelle back to John Murray and to be publishing Factory Girls. Like Big Girl, Small Town, Michelle uses dark comedy to really get under the surface of the summer of the Northern Ireland ceasefire, deftly exploring what it was really like to live there at that time."