Irish author’s debut novel shortlisted for second major prize

Eimear McBride, winner of the Goldsmiths Prize, is one of eight authors in running for £40,000 Folio Prize

A Girl Is A Half-Formed Thing by Irish author Eimear McBride is one of eight titles shortlisted today for the £40,000 Folio Prize.

McBride, whose debut novel won the £10,000 Goldsmiths Prize last November, took nine years to find a publisher, Norwich-based Galley Beggar Press, after being rejected by almost every British publisher as too experimental.

Written in a stream of consciousness style that eschews grammar and prepositions, A Girl Is A Half-Formed Thing is narrated by the unnamed “Girl” and it is the story of her dysfunctional family life, with a violent mother, a father who abandons her, an unwell brother and predatory uncle.

McBride was born in Liverpool to Irish parents, before moving with her family at the age of 2 first to Sligo, and then to Mayo. At 17, she left for London, and now lives with her husband and daughter in Norwich, which is where she found her small, local publisher.

Announcing the shortlist, Lavinia Greenlaw, chairwoman of the judging panel, said: “From its inception, the emphasis of the Folio Prize has been on the relationship between good writing and good reading. The Prize makes an unapologetic assertion about the value of experience and expertise, and the high expectations that come from spending much of your life investigating and testing language and form.”

The other shortlisted titles are: Red Doc by Anne Carson (Jonathan Cape); Schroder by Amity Gaige (Faber & Faber); Last Friends by Jane Gardam (Little, Brown); Benediction by Kent Haruf (Picador); The Flame Throwers by Rachel Kushner (Harvill Secker); A Naked Singularity by Sergio De La Pava (Maclehose Editions); and Tenth of December by George Saunders (Bloomsbury).

Sponsored by publisher, the Folio Society, the prize will be awarded in London on March 10th.