Eimear McBride picks up another award for debut novel

Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction goes to A Girl is a Half Formed Thing

Eimear McBride has collected a major award in women’s fiction for her debut novel A Girl Is A Half Formed Thing - which had sat on a shelf for nine years with no publisher.

Finally picked up by the UK-based Galley Beggar Press last year, it has been awarded the 2014 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction at a reception in London this evening.

Attracting considerable critical acclaim, it has already won the 2013 Goldsmiths Prize and last month's €15,000 Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year, as well as being shortlisted for the 2014 Folio Prize and the Desmond Elliott Prize.

A Girl Is A Half Formed Thing explores a young woman’s relationship with her brother who has been diagnosed with a brain tumour.


Ms McBride grew up in Tubbercurry, Co Sligo and Castlebar, Co Mayo before moving to the UK at the age of 17.

She wrote her award-winning novel in just six months at the age of 27 but spent almost a decade trying to find a home for it. During this time she relocated to Co Cork before moving to Norwich in 2011, where she found her eventual publisher.

The Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction carries a £30,000 (€37,000) prize and is the UK’s only annual book award for work by a woman “celebrating excellence, originality and accessibility in women’s writing from throughout the world”.

Chair of the judging panel Helen Fraser described the book as "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."

This evening's award ceremony took place at the Royal Festival Hall in London, where Ms McBride also received the Bessie, a limited edition bronze figurine.

Author Anne Enright has previously described the novel as a work of "genius".

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard is a reporter with The Irish Times