Rowena Macdonald

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Assistant: Gabriella Docherty


Rowena Macdonald was born on the Isle of Wight, grew up in the West Midlands and now lives in East London. Her debut collection, Smoked Meat, was short-listed for the 2012 Edge Hill Prize. Her short stories have won various prizes and been published by Galley Beggar Press, Influx Press, Ambit, Unthank Books, and Serpent’s Tail, among others. Her second short story collection will be published by Influx Press in 2018. 

Her debut novel, THE THREAT LEVEL REMAINS SEVERE, was published in July 2017 by Aardvark Bureau, an imprint of Gallic Books. It was shortlisted for The Guardian's Not the Booker Prize 2017.


"A quirky rom-com set in the House of Commons… this one gets my vote." Red Magazine

"Funny and refreshingly strange... sharp, warm - and charmingly odd." The Guardian

“A funny, observational comedy on the pitfalls of office life [that] takes a darker turn.” Sunday Express

“Intriguing… an incredibly well-written debut novel.” Closer Magazine 'Must Read'

"A witty, dryly observed love story, but also an eloquent lament on the desperation of contemporary metropolitan life and all the painful injustices of romantic interaction that beset millennials today... There’s a satisfying edge to Macdonald’s writing. Her style is crisp and economical, yet generous with the sort of detail that makes this book such an utterly engaging read... The characterisation, pace and plotting of The Threat Level Remains Severe are superb... Like Apple Tree Yard, this book explores our capacity for self-deception... 100% my first choice for a recommended summer holiday read: hugely satisfying, page-turning stuff." Erotic Review

"Sharp and entertaining." Carys Brays

"Admirers of Rowena Macdonald’s acclaimed short stories, as well as new readers, will welcome her appositely titled novelistic debut. The Threat Level Remains Severe, shining a sly light into the mundane backrooms and office romances of the corridors of power, is a stylish, bleakly funny and sad, acutely observed contemporary drama." Shena Mackay, Booker-shortlisted novelist

"Confident, funny and poignant. Macdonald's world draws the reader in irresistibly." Jane Rogers 

"Deliciously erotic and hugely readable, with some wonderful moments of illumination." Maureen Freely

"Surely one of the most insightful, honest and reassuringly humane tales of the true workings of the Mother of Parliaments in all its shabby, slapdash and vainglorious reality" Robert Edric