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Irish author Eimear McBride wins £30,000 Baileys Prize for her debut novel

She spent more than a decade trying to get it published – and now it’s won one of the biggest prizes in literature.

Five of the nominees for the prize - Hannah Kent, Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche, Jhumpa Lahiri, Audrey Magee and Eimear McBride.
Five of the nominees for the prize - Hannah Kent, Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche, Jhumpa Lahiri, Audrey Magee and Eimear McBride.
Image: PA Wire

IRISH WRITER EIMEAR McBride has won the prestigious Baileys Prize for her debut novel, beating off stiff competition from Donna Tartt and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

McBride won the £30,000 prize at a ceremony in London last night for her stream-of-consciousness book A Girl Is A Half-Formed Thing.

The judges described McBride’s book as “astonishing”. The book tells the story of a young woman’s relationship with her brother and the problems caused by the brain tumour he suffered as a child.

Helen Fraser, the chair of the panel of judges, praised the book as ‘amazing’ and ambitious’.

“This is an extraordinary new voice – this novel will move and astonish the reader,” she said.

Britain Womens Book Awards Eimear McBride with her award last night. Source: AP/Press Association Images

Speaking this morning, McBride said winning the award had not yet sunk in. She wrote the book at the age of 27 but spent more than a decade trying to have it published.

The award, formerly known as the Orange Prize, is given every year for a work of fiction written by a woman. It was presented last night at the Southbank Centre in London in front of 600 guests.

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