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

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.

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. AP / Press Association Images AP / Press Association Images / 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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