Eimear McBride wins the 2014 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction

June 4th, 2014

Irish author Eimear McBride wins the 2014 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction with her astonishing debut, A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing.

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We are delighted to announce that the winner of the 2014 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction is first-time novelist Eimear McBride, who impressed the five judges with her debut novel.

Eimear McBride’s debut tells the story of a young woman’s relationship with her brother and the long shadow cast by his childhood brain tumour. It is not so much a stream of consciousness as an unconsciousness railing against a life that makes little sense, forming a shocking and intimate insight into the thoughts, feelings and chaotic sexuality of a young and isolated protagonist. To read A Girl is a Half-formed Thing is to plunge inside into the narrator’s head, experiencing her world first-hand.

Eimear was born in 1976 in Liverpool to Northern Irish parents. Much of her twenties were spent temping and travelling. At twenty-seven she wrote A Girl is a Half-formed Thing and spent many years thereafter trying to have it published. She moved to Cork in 2006, and Norwich in 2011, where she currently lives with her husband and daughter.

This year’s judges – Mary Beard, Denise Mina, Caitlin Moran, Sophie Raworth and chair Helen Fraser – had the unenviable task of narrowing down the six shortlisted books to just one winner.

Helen Fraser, chair of judges, says of McBride’s startling debut: “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.”

The glittering awards ceremony took place at The Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, London where 600 guests gathered to hear who would be crowned the winner. Hosted by best-selling novelist and co-founder of the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction, Kate Mosse, 2014 chair of judges Helen Fraser, presented Eimear with the £30,000 prize and the ‘Bessie’, a limited edition bronze figurine, both of which are anonymously endowed.