Irish novelist Eimear McBride wins top fiction prize

Debut Irish novelist Eimear McBride has won the Women’s Prize for Fiction only three months after failing to win another high-profile award.

Irish novelist Eimear McBride wins top fiction prize

Debut Irish novelist Eimear McBride has won the Women’s Prize for Fiction only three months after failing to win another high-profile award.

The writer beat big names including American novelist Donna Tartt when she was announced as the winner at a ceremony in central London for her book A Girl Is A Half-Formed Thing.

She was born in Liverpool, but lived in Tubbercurry, Co Sligo, and in Co Mayo for much of her childhood.

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 put the novel away for a decade after it was rejected as too experimental before a small publisher in her hometown of Norwich published it last year.

It has been critically acclaimed but McBride lost out on The Folio Prize in March to American writer George Saunders.

Helen Fraser, who chaired the judging panel, said: “An amazing and ambitious first novel that impressed the judges with its inventiveness and energy. This is an extraordinary new voice – this novel will move and astonish the reader.”

Ms McBride collected her prize at an awards ceremony at the Royal Festival Hall in London beating authors including a previous winner, Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, who was nominated for Americanah.

Previous winners of the prize, formerly sponsored by communications company Orange, include Zadie Smith’s On Beauty and Lionel Shriver’s We Need to Talk About Kevin.

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