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You Have to Make Your Own Fun Around Here

Winner of the Beryl Bainbridge First Time Author Award

Frances Macken

‘This atmospheric debut looks like a rural Irish coming-of-age novel, but it’s cleverer, darker, more unreliable.’ Daily Mail

AN IRISH INDEPENDENT BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR

AN IRISH INDEPENDENT CRITICS CHOICE FOR CHRISTMAS

WINNER OF THE BERYL BAINBRIDGE BEST FIRST NOVEL AWARD, 2020/2021

AN IRISH TIMES, IRISH INDEPENDENT and SUNDAY INDEPENDENT ‘TITLE TO LOOK OUT FOR IN 2020’

Katie, Maeve and Evelyn have been friends forever. Outspoken, unpredictable and intoxicating, Evelyn is the undisputed leader of the trio. But Katie’s dream of escaping their tiny rural town for a new life in Dublin confronts her with a choice: to hold onto a friendship that has made her who she is, or risk leaving her best friend behind.

Told from Katie’s witty, quirky perspective and filled with unforgettable characters, this moving, immersive and very funny study of sisterhood takes a keen-eyed look at the delights and complexities of female friendship, the corrosive power of jealousy and guilt, and the people and places that shape us. Compellingly readable and effortlessly sharp, fizzing with the voices of rural Ireland, this is an unmissable novel from a dazzling new talent.

  • Publication date: June 8, 2021
  • ISBN: 9780861541508
  • RRP: £
  • Pages: 288
  • Publication date: March 26, 2020
  • ISBN: 9781786077653
  • RRP: £14.99
  • Pages: 288
  • Publication date: March 26, 2020
  • ISBN: 9781786077677
  • RRP: £4.99
  • Pages: 256

Reviews

'This was perfect. Shades of Elena Ferrante in the story of a country girl who leaves and the friend who stays behind. Light of touch but not light of substance. Great stuff.'

Kathleen MacMahon, author of This is How it Ends

'This atmospheric debut looks like a rural Irish coming-of-age novel, but it’s cleverer, darker, more unreliable.'

Daily Mail

'A fresh, clever look at the intricacies and jealousies of female friendship. This debut reads like a modern, mysterious version of Edna O’Brien’s The Country Girls.'

Irish Examiner

'Hugely enjoyable, profound and humorous.'

Mayo News

‘Small town familiarity meets the Utopian promises of Dublin city as school finishes. Alcohol, grief and the pressure to have 'stories' to bring home to those at home destroy the silvery-spun webs of friendships. Astute and sharp, this is sublime.’

The Book Nook

'Few writers have articulated the intricacies of friendship – the dependency, the uncertainty, the fragility of the pecking order – with as much authority….a debut bursting with heart.'

Irish Independent

'I loved this one... In some ways, this novel reminded me a fair bit of My Brilliant Friend, just a different time and place, but connected by those themes of friendship, moving on and breaking free.'

Theresa Smith Writes

'Macken's downplaying of major events, such as Pamela's disappearance and Katie's college years, resonates with the solipsism of youth... [She] gets a lot of mileage from Katie's beguiling voice and sardonic humor.'

Publishers Weekly

You Have to Make Your Own Fun Around Here vividly captures life in a close-knit community, while examining the intricacies and anxieties of female friendship… Katie is a vibrant creation, whose insights are often fresh and startling… The ups-and-downs of going places is ultimately what makes the narrative come to life.’

Irish Times

'This exploration of the seething hinterland of growing up, with its often unspoken passions, unrequited longings and intense jealousies, is melancholy, funny, dark and affecting.'

Deborah Kay Davies, author of Reasons She Goes to the Woods

'A subtle, powerful debut novel. Quietly packing her emotional punches, never predictable, Macken’s prose is clear-eyed yet lyrical, and in Katie, she has created a truly touching (and at times very funny) protagonist... A new voice in fiction to celebrate.'

Anna Beer, author of Patriot or Traitor

'Readers will be charmed by the picture of Katie’s circle of friends and acquaintances... Macken's first novel will suit young adult and adult readers alike.'

Booklist

Frances Macken

Frances Macken is from Claremorris, Co. Mayo. She completed a BA in Film and Television Production at the National Film School, Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology. She has a Masters in Creative Writing from the University of Oxford and is the author of several short stories. You Have to Make Your Own Fun Around Here is her debut work of literary fiction. 

Author page

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