User Menu

Irish author scoops prize for ‘boldly original fiction’

Eimear McBride wins inaugural Goldsmiths Prize for ‘A Girl is a Half-formed Thing’

Irish author Eimear McBride has won the Goldsmiths Award for boldly original fiction for her book A Girl is a Half-formed Thing.

Irish author Eimear McBride has won a prestigious award for boldly original fiction.

The book, A Girl is a Half-formed Thing, was last night announced as the winner of the inaugural Goldsmiths Prize, which comes with a £10,000 cheque.

The book wins the award some nine years after it was first rejected by publishers for being too experimental.

McBride’s novel, published by Galley Beggar Press, is written in a stream of consciousness style that eschews grammar and prepositions.

Narrated by the unnamed “Girl”, it is the story of her dysfunctional family life, with a violent mother, a father who abandons her, an unwell brother and predatory uncle.

“Thank you very much, what a surprise, a great pleasure to be part of this fantastic shortlist,” McBride said. “There was a long time when I thought I would never have this book published, and I felt quite depressed about the state of publishing as a result.”

She added: “To have a prize like this is a really wonderful thing to encourage writers to be adventurous, to continue to be adventurous, to encourage publishers to be adventurous, and readers to be adventurous.”

The chair of the judging panel, Dr Tim Parnell of Goldmiths University, said the book was “boldly original and utterly compelling”. He said McBride’s book was the kind the award was created to celebrate.

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.”

McBride was born in Liverpool to Irish parents, before moving with her family at the age of 14 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.