Virago is publishing journalist Caroline O’Donoghue’s debut novel, Promising Young Women, which was won in a "passionately fought" auction. The book is a "gothic, darkly witty" novel about sex, power, work and being a young woman in a man's world.
Sarah Savitt, publisher at Virago, acquired UK and Commonwealth rights in the book, plus a second untitled novel, from Bryony Woods at Diamond Kahn and Woods.
The title follows 26-year-old Jane who is recently single and adrift at her job – but her alter-ego, the online agony aunt Jolly Politely, has all the answers. When Jane and her older married boss kiss at a party, Jane does not follow the advice she would give to her readers as Jolly: instead she plunges head-first into an affair – one that could jeopardise her friendships, her career and even her life.
Savitt called it "a funny, unsettling, whip-smart page-turner", touching on issues from gaslighting to infidelity to women in the workplace. "It also has a brilliant, surprising gothic edge which really makes it stand out. I can’t wait to publish this debut and to work with Caroline on her second novel," she said.
O'Donoghue is a contributing editor for The Pool and has also written for Glamour, The Irish Times and Buzzfeed. She also co-hosts the podcast, "School for Dumb Women".
Virago will publish Promising Young Women in June 2018.