Sep 28, 2021

Factory Girls, 'terrifically imagined’ deep, dark and heartfelt comedy, signed up by John Murray

Michelle Gallen’s

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John Murray has signed up the new novel from Michelle Gallen, the Costa shortlisted author of Big Girl, Small Town


John Murray Senior Commissioning Editor Becky Walsh has acquired UK and Commonwealth rights in Factory Girls by Michelle Gallen from Marianne Gunn O’Connor. This is the second novel from Michelle, the author of Big Girl, Small Town, which was shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award and the Comedy Women in Print Prize. Michelle was also shortlisted for the Newcomer of the Year at the Irish Book Awards. John Murray will publish in hardback and ebook on 23 June 2022. US rights are with Betsy Gleick at Algonquin.


Set in Northern Ireland in 1994, Factory Girls follows 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.


Michelle says ‘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.’


Editor Becky Walsh says ‘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.’

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