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Not Working
By (author): Lisa Owens
9780385686006 Hardcover English General Trade FICTION / Literary May 03, 2016
$29.95 CAD
Active 5.9 x 8.5 x 0.9 in 256 pages Doubleday Canada
A laugh-out-loud, irreverent debut novel that forces you to imagine what might happen if you quit your job to find your true purpose.

First there was Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones, then Allison Pearson’s I Don’t Know How She Does It and now Lisa Owens’ Not Working, capturing the point of view of a young generation trying not to have it all, but to figure out what it all means. Twenty-something Londoner Claire has just resigned from her job without a plan—and although she is pleased, her family and friends can’t seem to understand. Before too long, she manages to push away both her safe, steady, brain-surgeon boyfriend and her difficult but loving mother.

Quirky, questioning Claire hilariously navigates and comments on the emotions and minutiae of day-to-day life as only someone without the distractions of a regular routine can. This is a story of self-discovery, packed with wry humour and told in sparkling vignettes.

Story Locale: London

EXCITING COMPS: In addition to our own Jennifer Close, Not Working will speak to fans of Helen Fielding, Allison Pearson and Nick Hornby, as well as to viewers of HBO’s Girls, which talks to the same generation in similarly witty fashion.

LONDON CALLING: With its sparkling British humour and big city setting, this book will appeal to Anglophiles everywhere.

UNIVERSAL THEMES: Lisa tackles big issues such as professional motivation, love, insecurity, societal expectations and family dynamics with careful prose and probing humour.

EXTRAORDINARY DEBUT: This wickedly funny book is just the beginning for the remarkable Lisa Owens.

LISA OWENS studied English at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, and 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 a Creative Writing MA at the University of East Anglia. She lives in London.

Author Residence: London, UK

Marketing: Galleys

Organic social media campaign

Blogger outreach

National advertising



Publicity: Extensive galley mailing

Tour to Toronto

Influencer mailing with finished books

Strategic Marketing events

Pitch lifestyle and off-the-book page coverage



Author Social Media: Twitter: @lamowens

A Guardian Debut Novelist Pick, 2016

“Look out Bridget Jones—Claire Flannery, the flighty late-twenty-something protagonist of Not Working by newcomer Lisa Owens, is here. Not to find her dream man, but her dream job. . . . In a series of alternately quirky, insightful, blisteringly funny and downright embarrassing first person vignettes, Claire observes both the mundanity and absurdity of life as she struggles to understand why she doesn’t conform to the norm. . . . It’s this authenticity of Claire’s struggles, her humour and vulnerability and her fresh, honest voice that makes her so real, so endearing. What Bridget Jones’s Diary was to single 30-something women in the 90s, Not Working is a zeitgeist work for the millennial generation.” —Toronto Star

Not Working [is] quirky-funny on the surface, but with a stronger, darker, stranger undercurrent running through. . . . Owens deftly punctuates the swift-moving plot with impressionistic observations. . . . It’s well-written, tightly structured, funny and smart.” —National Post

“Don’t quit your day job: That’s the takeaway of Lisa Owens’ ruefully funny, London-set Not Working, which features a kind of millennial Bridget Jones whose red wine-and-TED Talk-fueled pursuit of a higher purpose in life leads to hard truths and hangovers.” —Vogue

“[Owens] has a natural warmth and wit that leaps off the pages of Not Working, a novel as insightful about the contemporary dilemmas facing young professionals as it is sharp, incisive and laugh-out-loud funny…. Not Working could be described as Girls with English eccentricity and a particularly British brand of social awkwardness.” —The Guardian (UK)

“World, meet the new Bridget Jones. In the new novel Not Working, Lisa Owens has created an everywoman heroine that readers are sure to love, or at least find entertaining.” —Niagara Life (Ontario)

“Find a kindred spirit in debut novelist Lisa Owens’s protagonist Claire, whose life is hilariously unravelling before our eyes.” —The Observer (UK)

“Piercingly observant and funny.” —Daily Express (UK)

“A comedic coming-of-age tale…full of crackling, voice-of-a-generation observations.” —Glamour (UK)

“A pin-sharp, utterly addictive debut.” —Vogue (UK)

“Owens’ rollicking debut novel . . . deploys a deft sense of humor to help us laugh at the incongruities of contemporary upper-middle-class crisis.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Stellar…[Owens has an] ability to take the potentially trite problem-of-the-privileged trope and deftly craft it into readable fun.” —Publishers Weekly

“Sharp . . . comic and compelling . . . This book offers a form of catharsis for anyone who has felt that they are not quite doing their job right…. It is soothing to find you are not the only one noodling along in your career.” —Financial Times (UK)

“It’s no mean feat to fashion a novel out of the stuff of everyday life: a modestly happy relationship, a nondescript London flat, a minor existential crisis. It takes quite a writer to make such material interesting enough to fill nearly 300 pages—and, fortunately, Owens is quite a writer. . . . With this funny, serious debut, Lisa Owens has proved that she’s one to watch.” —The New Statesman (UK)

“Lisa Owens’ eye for life’s mundane details make for a novel that is hilarious, sharp and true. Not Working is simply delicious.” —Kaui Hart Hemmings, New York Times bestselling author of The Descendants and The Possibilities 

“Lots of people say they laugh out loud when they read a book they love. But in the case of Not Working, I really did laugh out loud, often and loudly. Claire Flannery is quite simply the most charming lost soul I’ve ever met…. If you’ve ever felt like an imposter in your own life, been driven crazy by your mother or felt out of step with your friends, Not Working is not only your next great read, but also the one you’ll buy in bulk for your mom, your friends and all your luckiest kindred spirits.” —Elisabeth Egan, author of A Window Opens 

Not Working is absolutely brilliant. Insanely funny but also moving and true. Lisa Owens is one of those writers on whom nothing is lost.” —Nathan Filer, award-winning author of The Shock of the Fall

“I love Not Working. As close to the tenderness and funniness and uniqueness of real life as books get. It makes me feel like I did when I found Adrian Mole decades ago. Like I know this person on the page, or am them, in a way. It’s really very rare and very special.” —David Whitehouse, author of Mobile Library

“I loved Not Working. A bright, funny novel of daily life, suffused with real melancholy.” —Marie Phillips, author of Gods Behaving Badly and The Table of Less Valued Knights

“Lisa Owens is a comedy genius and a seriously skilful and beautiful writer. Not Working is so clever and original, pithy and poignant, capturing the voice of a bright, lost generation. It’s not often you find a kindred spirit in a book but I feel like I found one here.” —Emma Jane Unsworth, author of Animals

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