My first novel, For Thy Great Pain Have Mercy On My Little Pain, is published by Bloomsbury.  Based on the lives of two fourteenth-century mystics, Julian of Norwich and Margery Kempe,  the novel explores medieval women’s lives, the effects of grief and trauma, and the genesis of women’s writing. In January, I was on Radio Four’s Front Row to discuss my novel with Shahidha Bari.

“An extraordinary novel about two extraordinary women … This slim novel is a pocket epic.” FRANK COTTRELL-BOYCE, The Guardian Book of the Day.

“It is an extraordinary feat of historical ventriloquism; the women’s inner lives, their religiosity, their sense of place in the world is miraculously conjured … This novel is brilliantly done.” ANTONIA SENIOR, The Times Book of the Month.

“Superlative … Striking, elegant … a novel like this requires exquisite balance … this achieves this admirably.” STUART KELLY, The Scotsman.

“Stunningly original … Her skill is in creating a story that goes much deeper than its slender spine and spare prose might suggest.” Editor’s Pick, Best Books of 2023, Marie Claire.

“A beautiful book. I loved it. Margery and Julian are both so alive. The invisible balancing and weighing MacKenzie has done across the whole to bring them dialogue with each other and to bring the reader into emotional and spiritual connectedness with them is just so brilliant. And it’s funny. It warmed my heart.”  MAX PORTER


I am represented by Sam Copeland at Rogers, Coleridge and White.

Say hi @forthygreatpain


Readings & Events:

Thursday 11th May 2023 at 6.30pm:  “Have Mercy: Julian of Norwich and Margery Kempe“.  I will be in conversation with writer and film maker Sally-Anne Lomas at the National Centre for Writing in Norwich.  This event is in association with the Julian of Norwich Anniversary Celebrations, run by the Julian of Norwich Partnership.