Sunday 26 October 2014

Irish novelist wins £10,000 award for book first rejected nine years ago

Robert Dex

Published 13/11/2013 | 20:02

Author Eimear McBride

A first-time Irish novelist has won a £10,000 literary prize for her book nine years after it was first rejected by publishers.

Eimear McBride picked up the Goldsmiths Prize for A Girl Is A Half-formed Thing in London tonight.

The novel, which is the story of a young woman's relationship with her brother and the long shadow cast by his childhood brain tumour, was written in just six months but was initially rejected by every publisher she sent it to.

Ms McBride, who was born in Liverpool but grew up Sligo and Mayo, put the novel away for years after it was rejected as too experimental before submitting it to publishers again this year without making any changes.

Speaking before tonight's ceremony, she said: "I think there is an audience for this kind of work out there and this is a great opportunity for them to be able to find it."

Dr Tim Parnell, who chaired the judging panel and is head of English at Goldsmiths College, said the book was "boldly original and utterly compelling".

He added: "Serious discussion of the art of fiction is too often confined to the pages of learned journals and we hope that going forward the prize and the events surrounding it will stimulate a much wider debate about the novel."

The prize was created by Goldsmiths, which is part of the University of London, in association with the New Statesman magazine to recognise books that are "genuinely novel".

McBride's book beat five other short-listed titles including Jim Crace's Harvest and David Peace's Red Or Dead about the life and career of Liverpool FC manager Bill Shankly.

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