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


‘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.’



Available editions: Hardcover, paperback, ebook, audiobook.

Publication date: 26 March 2020

Publisher: Oneworld Publications

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An Irish TimesIrish Independent and Sunday Independent “Title to look out for in 2020.”

Katie, Maeve and Evelyn – friends forever, united by their childhood games and their dreams of escaping the tiny Irish town of Glenbruff. 

Outspoken, unpredictable and intoxicating, Evelyn is the undisputed leader of the trio. That is, until the beautiful, bold Pamela Cooney arrives from Dublin and changes Glenbruff forever…

Told from Katie’s witty, quirky perspective, Frances Macken’s debut beautifully captures life in a small town and the power of yearning for something bigger. Filled with unforgettable characters and crackling dialogue, You Have to Make Your Own Fun Around Here takes a keen-eyed look at the complexities of female friendship, the corrosive power of jealousy and guilt, and the way that life can quietly erode our dreams unless we’re willing to fight for them.


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

– Daily Mail

‘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

At the heart of the book is the slippery, shifting friendship between best friends Katie and Evelyn. From a young age, Katie is in thrall to her spirited, selfish friend, who comes across as a modern-day Baba from The Country Girls.’

– Irish Times

‘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

‘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

‘Frances Macken’s You Have To Make Your Own Fun Around Here charts the friendship of three small-town girls from their childhoods through to their early careers, exploring envy and self-belief with consistent, natural humour and spot-on observations.’

– Caoilinn Hughes, author of Orchid & the Wasp

‘It’s funny, dark and brilliant on toxic friendships. I highly recommend.’

– Jackie Lyman, Dublin City Libraries