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Ní Mhaoileoin’s “unmissable” debut pre-empted by Manilla Press 

Manilla Press, the boutique home for high quality fiction and narrative non-fiction at Bonnier Books UK’s Zaffre Publishing Group, has acquired the “arresting, unmissable” debut from author Niamh Ní Mhaoileoin. 

Manilla Press Publisher Sophie Orme acquired world all language rights from Cara Lee Simpson at PFD Literary Agents via a pre-empt. 

Ordinary Saints won the PFD Queer Fiction prize and was shortlisted for the Women’s Prize Discoveries award. It’s an exploration of family, grief, queer identity, and the legacy of the Catholic Church in Ireland. 

Brought up in a devout household in Ireland, Jay is now living in London with her girlfriend, determined not think too much about either the future or the past. But when she learns that her beloved older brother, who died in a terrible accident, may be made into a Catholic saint, she realises she must at last confront her family, her childhood and herself . . . 

Inspired by the author’s own devout upbringing, Ordinary Saints is a brilliant debut novel from a fresh, exciting new voice which asks – who gets to decide how we are remembered, and who we will become? 

Publisher Sophie Orme said: ‘I love this fresh and captivating debut which shines a light on some of the lesser-known aspects of Catholicism while telling a familiar tale of growing apart from the family that raised you. A brilliant exploration of grief, love and loyalty, moving effortlessly between two timelines, Ordinary Saints gripped and moved me. It marks the arrival of a distinctive and exciting new voice.’ 

Ní Mhaoileoinsaid: ‘I’m thrilled that Ordinary Saints has found a home at Manilla Press. From our first conversations, Sophie and her team have shown real care and enthusiasm for this story and its characters. I’m excited to work with them and to introduce Jay and Ferdia to readers in 2025.’ 

Cara Lee Simpson said: ‘From the moment we read Niamh’s submission to the Queer Fiction Prize, we knew we’d found a very special winner. I’m so pleased Ordinary Saints has found such an equally enthusiastic home with Sophie and the rest of the Manilla Press team.’  

Niamh Ní Mhaoileoinis an Irish writer living and working in Edinburgh. Her stories, essays and articles have appeared in Gutter, the New Statesman, The Millions, Sexualities and other publications. 

Ordinary Saints will be published in hardback, and eBook in spring 2025, with the paperback following in spring 2026. 

Photo credit: Julie Broadfoot