EXCITING TIMES ahead as W&N set to publish much anticipated second novel THE HAPPY COUPLE from NAOISE DOLAN

W&N’s publishing director, Lettice Franklin, acquired UK & Commonwealth rights from Harriet Moore at David Higham Associates.  


W&N will publish The Happy Couple on the 25th May in Hardback, Audio & Ebook. Helen Atsma at Ecco will publish in the US in Fall 2023. 


In The Happy Couple, Naoise Dolan, author of Exciting Times, makes the Marriage Plot entirely her own in a sparkling ensemble novel that is both ferociously clever and supremely enjoyable. 

Meet the happy couple. Luke and Celine, are in mutual unrequited love with each other, set to marry in a year’s time. 

The best man, Archie, is meant to want to move up the corporate ladder and on from his love for Luke; yet he stands where he is, admiring the view. 

The bridesmaid, Phoebe, Celine’s sister, has no long-term aspirations beyond smoking her millionth cigarette and getting to the bottom of Luke’s frequent unexplained disappearances. 

Then there’s the guest, Vivian, who with the benefit of some emotional distance, methodically observes her friends like ants. 

As the wedding approaches and these five lives intersect, each character will find themselves looking for a path to their happily ever after – but does it lie at the end of an aisle? 


Lettice Franklin, editor said: Naoise Dolan writes characters, one-liners, many-page-long-wedding-speeches, love stories, break-up stories, family stories like nobody else. In The Happy Couple, Naoise takes on the Marriage Plot and makes it entirely her own. It is a novel for anyone who loves Edward St Aubyn, My Best Friends Wedding, Jeffrey Eugenides, Zadie Smith, Sorrow and Bliss or Jane Austen. For anyone who has ever asked: can your favourite person in the world also be one you should leave behind? Is a long-term relationship let alone a wedding the right thing for everyone? Or can any one story of a relationship ever capture its entire truth? Every page of it delighted me and all of us at W&N and Orion are so, so excited to publish it. 


Naoise Dolan, author said: I wrote The Happy Couple in service of the only motive strong enough to propel me through any sustained endeavour: my own enjoyment. At the same time, I felt ready to explore new territory in my writing by offering a polyphonic range of narrative voices; my first novel was narrated by only one character, so I wanted to try something different. Most importantly, I wanted to comply with the implicit contract made between comic literary novelists and their readers: you might have to work a bit at times, but I’ll do my best to offer pleasure in return. If that sounds like a good deal to you, then I hope you have fun with The Happy Couple.’ 


Naoise Dolan is an Irish writer born in Dublin. She studied at Trinity College, followed by a masters in Victorian literature at Oxford. 

Her debut novel EXCITING TIMES has sold 174,000 copies across all formats. 


The novel was praised by Marian Keyes, Hilary Mantel, Colm Tóibín, Pandora Sykes, David Nicholls, Craig Brown, Zadie Smith and Graham Norton amongst others. 

Exciting Times was the winner of the 2021 Hawthornden Prize for Literature. It was shortlisted for Waterstones Book of the Year 2020, the Sunday Times / University of Warwick Young Writer of the Year Award 2020, and An Post Irish Book Awards: Newcomer of the Year 2020. It was longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2021, the Swansea University International Dylan Thomas Prize 2021, the Comedy Women in Print Prize 2021 and the Desmond Elliott Prize 2021. 


TV rights in EXCITING TIMES were acquired by Black Bear Pictures after a competitive auction.