Kathleen MacMahon moves to Penguin Ireland

Kathleen MacMahon moves to Penguin Ireland

Kathleen MacMahon is moving from Sphere to Penguin Ireland with a "dazzling" new novel, following a deal closed at the Frankfurt Book Fair.

UK and Commonwealth rights in Nothing but Blue Sky were secured by Patricia Deevy, deputy publisher of Penguin Ireland, from Marianne Gunn O’Connor of the Marianne Gunn O’Connor Literary Agency.

Nothing but Blue Sky is the story of a marriage told by 40-something David after the tragic death of his wife, Mary Rose. Shifting between past and present, the novel follows David’s belated recognition of many things, including who Mary Rose really was and how she, and their marriage, were changing in ways he had not noticed.

Penguin Ireland described it "a gripping novel about the challenge of truly knowing oneself, or another, and the search for a new route in life when all that is easy and familiar suddenly disappears". Deevy added: "Kathleen's new novel is a wise, thoughtful, beautifully observed and impossible-to-put-down portrait of a marriage ... quietly dazzling in its nuanced insights and intelligent graceful writing".

The book will be the third novel from the former RTÉ radio and television journalist. MacMahon's debut, This is How it Ends, was published by Sphere in 2012 after Little, Brown paid £600,000 in a pre-emptive bid for world English rights in two books, as reported on by The Bookseller. Subsequently it was translated into more than 20 languages and spent five weeks at the top of the bestseller lists in Ireland. It was also a Richard and Judy Book Club choice in the UK. Her second novel, The Long, Hot Summer (Sphere), followed in 2015, but sold fewer copies. Through Nielsen, in the UK, This is How it Ends sold 44,004 copies across all editions compared to 1,061 copies of The Long Hot Summer, and, in Ireland, This is How it Ends sold 20,233 copies compared to 4,734 copies of The Long Hot Summer.

MacMahon commented on the new deal: "I’m delighted to have found such a good home for my novel. It will be an absolute thrill to see that penguin on its spine, and I look forward to getting down to work with Patricia and all the team at Penguin, whose confidence in this book, along with that of my agent Marianne Gunn O'Connor, has been a great gift to me."