We've had a hugely exciting couple of weeks at Picador, sparked by Jane Finigan, agent at Lutyens & Rubinstein literary agency, who submitted a manuscript that had all of us in stitches and convinced that this was a novel written about each of us. So when the news came in that Picador had won the eight-publisher auction for the right to publish it, we were ecstatic.

The book is called Not Working by Lisa Owens (pictured) and is the story of Claire Flannery, whose life is unravelling around her. She’s quit her job in order to discover her true vocation, only to realise she has no idea how to go about finding it. Whilst everyone around her seems to have their lives entirely under control, Claire finds herself drowning in myriad pressures and beginning to wonder where it all fell apart. ‘It’s fine,’ her grandmother says. ‘I remember what being your age was like – of course, I had four children under eight then, but modern life is different, you’ve got an awful lot on…’ If you love Lorrie Moore, A M Homes and Lena Dunham, then this hilarious, whip-smart, unexpectedly poignant and endlessly enjoyable novel will be one for you.

Francesca Main, who will be Lisa Owens's editor, said: ‘Not Working is the freshest, funniest, sharpest novel I’ve read in ages; it knocked me out. Written with dazzling wit, superb comic timing and an unerring eye for the minutiae that make up a life, it’s a novel you devour in a gulp and then can’t stop thinking about. Everyone at Picador feels they’ve found a kindred spirit in Claire Flannery, and the voice of a generation in Lisa Owens.’

Lisa Owens was born in 1985 to Irish parents, and grew up in Glasgow and Hertfordshire. She read English at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, and then spent six years working in publishing, first as an assistant at the Wylie Agency, then as an editor at Profile Books. In 2013, she completed an MA in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia. She lives in London.

We'll publish the novel in spring 2016, so watch this space. 

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