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Francesca studied at St Hugh’s College, Oxford, before becoming a journalist and writer. Her work has appeared in Granta, Newsweek, the Guardian, the Financial Times, and Vogue UK and US, amongst many others. She has been a features writer at Tatler, and for three years wrote the Debut Fiction column in the Observer. Her debut novel, The Innocents, was awarded the 2012 Costa First Novel Award, the 2013 National Jewish Book Award for Fiction, the 2013 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature, a 2013 Betty Trask Award, the 2013 Harold U. Ribalow Prize and the 2013 Premio Letterario Edoardo Kihlgren Opera Prima in Milan, and was long-listed for the 2013 Women’s Prize for Fiction (formerly the Orange Prize).

Francesca is represented by

Zoë Waldie at Rogers, Coleridge & White.

Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Segal’s debut novel is an example of how one can be influenced by great writers who’ve come before yet not be trapped by them... Inspired by The Age of Innocence, Segal’s book is warmer, funnier, and paints a more dynamic and human portrait of a functional community that is a wonderful juxtaposition to Wharton’s cold social strata in Gilded Age New York... The book is full of delightful moments... Segal took the theme of a well-known novel and made it her own. Lively and entertaining.

The Observer (06/05/12)

It's a stroke of brilliance on Segal's part to demonstrate the striking similarities between the polished social manners of waspish 19th-century New York and 21st-century Hampstead Garden Suburb...The Innocents is a compelling read and Segal writes with a delicate, understated elegance. Given the current obsession with quirky anti-heros and narratives bordering on magical-realist, Segal's more traditional approach (apt, given her subject matter) is refreshing.

The Observer (23/04/12)

A subtle, witty and acutely observed study of a recognisable world.


A reworking of Edith Wharton’s iconic 1920 novel, The Age of Innocence, which sees the debut novelist lifting the story from its original setting...and gracefully setting it down in a 21st-century Jewish north-west London suburb. Segal’s skill lies in making the characters sympathetic... [she] has used her considerable talent to make the story her own, adding a thread of humour which is noticeably absent from the original...I couldn’t put it down... The Innocents is an astonishingly accomplished debut which, with its witty and intelligent depiction of life in modern Britain, will draw comparisons between Segal and authors Zadie Smith and Monica Ali. 4/5 stars

Jewish Renaissance

A great novel (and I think this is one) allows us to enter into a world and see it anew whatever our experience... Readers and book groups the world over will enjoy reading and dissecting this novel and I hope that we British Jews will recognise it as the best portrait of how we are today that’s been written so far.

Library Journal (starred review)

Readers who enjoy fast-paced, gently satirical literary novels, fans of Allegra Goodman, and book group participants will find a Shabbat dinner’s worth of noshing in this accomplished debut novel by the daughter of author Erich Segal.