Oneworld signs Frances Macken debut about complex female friendships

Oneworld signs Frances Macken debut about complex female friendships

Oneworld has bought a debut novel from Irish writer Frances Macken, billed as “a major voice in contemporary fiction”.

Juliet Mabey, publisher at Oneworld, secured world rights for the “stunning” novel, You Have to Make Your Own Fun Around Here, from agent Marianne Gunn O’Connor, of her eponymous agency. It is scheduled for publication on 2nd April 2020.

The debut is “a colourful and vivid tale about the complexities of female friendship, the corrosive power of jealousy and guilt”, as well as exploring how “life can quietly erode our dreams”, Oneworld said. The publisher called Dublin-based writer Macken “a major voice in contemporary fiction”.

Set in the small Irish town of Glenbruff, the story centres on the friendship between narrator Katie and the domineering, sometimes spiteful Evelyn. The synopsis reads: “Convinced that the girls will be friends forever, Katie willingly follows Evelyn’s lead as they explore their strange hometown together. Trailing at their heels is the gormless Maeve, Evelyn’s adopted cousin who was abandoned by her mother. Into this close-knit if disparate group of friends arrives Pamela Cooney. Fresh from Dublin, she’s talented and beautiful, and she changes Glenbruff forever.”

“Bold, funny and vibrant, filled with unforgettable characters and crackling dialogue, You Have to Make Your Own Fun around Here beautifully captures life in a small town, the people and places that shape us, and our battle to leave them behind,” Oneworld said.

Macken, who has a Masters in Creative Writing from Oxford, said: “I was interested in exploring the psychological drivers between magnetic and intoxicating female friendships. It’s often easier for us to walk away from a friendship than a romantic relationship, but the emotional fallout can be considerable. And the town in which it is set is hugely important to the narrative. The events in the novel are strange and unsettling and the location provides an atmospheric backdrop.”

Mabey said: “You Have to Make Your Own Fun around Here is a fascinating exploration of female friendship and the way it can transform – and sometimes derail - one’s life.  This is an astonishing debut: lyrically written and intensely moving, and set against the vibrant backdrop of a small Irish town, I’m confident it will prove an addictive read and am absolutely thrilled to be bringing Frances to the Oneworld list.”