Michael Joseph has acquired Oh My God, What a Complete Aisling, the debut novel from long-time friends Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen that claimed Ireland's Christmas number one spot for adult fiction last year.
The debut, frequently hailed Ireland's answer to Bridget Jones, published in Ireland in September last year and sold 40, 000 copies, according to Michael Joseph, making it the number-one bestselling adult fiction title in the country for 2017. Irish rights to the next two books in the series subsequently commanded a six-figure sum from Gill Books in December.
Publishing director Maxine Hitchcock acquired UK and Commonwealth rights, excluding Ireland, for the novel plus two more novels featuring Aisling, from Sheila Crowley at Curtis Brown following a multi-publisher auction. Gill Books will continue to publish the Aisling books in Ireland.
At the heart of the story is 28-year-old Aisling who, newly single after a holiday from hell, decides it’s time for a new start and ventures into a life she never imagined. The character started out as an in-joke between the authors on Facebook that then took off. They created a fan page celebrating all "Aislings" from the country, who, in the authors' words, is "the kind of girl who would never go anywhere without a 'bag for life' ... If she lives in Dublin, she goes home every weekend without fail".
McLysaght and Breen said they now couldn't wait to share Aisling with the world.
"Never in our wildest dreams did we imagine Aisling flying the Irish coop, so to have Michael Joseph and Penguin Random House showing her such love is so, so exciting for us," they said. "We're also in great company with our literary heroines Marian Keyes and Sue Townsend part of the Michael Joseph family too. Writing the book and hearing about people's laughter and tears over her escapades has brought us such joy. We can't wait to share Aisling with the world (and pick up some bargains in the Duty Free, obviously). Oh, and it's pronounced Ash-ling. She feels a fierce kinship with Saoirse Ronan over the problematic name."
Hitchcock said: "There is a proud tradition in women’s fiction for brilliantly written, simultaneously moving but, essentially, laugh-out-loud funny novels. In Aisling, Emer and Sarah have created the next great comic heroine to proudly sit alongside Bridget and Becky ‘Shopaholic’ Bloomwood. Michael Joseph is proud to work side-by-side with them to bring Aisling to a whole new audience."
Michael Joseph will publish Oh My God, What a Complete Aisling in hardback this May.
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