Fourth Estate has acquired the debut novel from poet and performer Oisín Mckenna in a heated four-way auction. Editorial Director Katie Bowden bought UK and Commonwealth rights to Evenings and Weekends from Olivia Maidment at Madeleine Milburn Agency in a two-book deal. North American rights for two books were sold in a five-way auction to Jessica Vestuto at Mariner, HarperCollins, who will publish alongside.

Set over one feverish heat-wave weekend in London when a whale is beached on the banks of the Thames, Evenings and Weekends is an addictive, multi-generational story about a group of friends and their families as they navigate rolling news headlines, messy, queer relationships, precarious living situations and dead-end jobs. By the end of a transformative two days, their lives will be changed forever.

Katie Bowden said: ‘’Part literary soap-opera, part state-of-the-nation novel, part movingly relatable drama, Evenings and Weekends is a beautiful, page-turning novel about what it means to live and love in Britain today. The stories of these characters are painfully recognisable to anyone trying to build a life in a 21st century city and to anyone living for the evenings and the weekends. Oisín Mckenna is an incredibly exciting new talent and we are so proud to be publishing him at 4th Estate.”

Oisín Mckenna said: ‘With this book, I wanted to capture a specific place and time – London, England, the summer of 2019. I wanted to write about how the political and ecological turning points of that year intersected with the intimate emotional lives of the people who lived through them, and do so in a way that was funny and warm and charged with the manic energy of the city in a heatwave. It’s an absolute dream to get to work with Katie, Jessica, and the teams at Fourth Estate and Mariner to bring it forward to publication, and I’m so grateful to the hard work of Liv Maidment and the team at the MM Agency for getting me to this point.

Olivia Maidment said: ‘Evenings and Weekends is a tender yet propulsive novel set against an all too familiar backdrop of climate change and culture war that will resonate with everyone who is just doing what they can to navigate the world we live in alongside the people we love. I’m so, so proud of Oisín and I couldn’t be happier to see him find his perfect home with Fourth Estate and Mariner Books.’

Oisín Mckenna is an award-winning Irish writer and artist, working in theatre, radio, and fiction. He was awarded the Next Generation Bursary from the Arts Council of Ireland to write Evenings and Weekends and it was developed with further funding from Arts Council England. Evenings and Weekends has been awarded a 2022 London Writers Award and in 2017, Oisín was named in the Irish Times as one of the best-spoken word artists in the country.

Evenings and Weekend will be published in 2024.