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Eimear McBride wins Baileys Prize for best novel by woman

Eimear McBride, winner of Baileys prize for fiction
Eimear McBride, winner of Baileys prize for fiction
Photo by Stuart C. Wilson

The debut novel by the Irish author Eimear McBride, "A Girl is a Half-formed Thing" won the Baileys Prize for best fiction by a woman tonight at ceremonies in London. The award, formerly called the Orange Prize, carries with it a gift of £30,000 (approximately $50,000.)

McBride, 37, tried for almost decade before getting the work published. Her book is hardly as widely read at two other shortlisted titles, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's "Americanah" and Donna Tartt's "The Goldfinch." But given the subject matter - the relationship between a young woman and a brother with a brain tumor - and the style - described as stream of consciousness - that is probably not surprising.

The Baileys jury called McBride's book "amazing and ambitious." Others on the shortlist were "Burial Rites" by Hannah Kent, "The Lowland" by Jhumpa Lahiri, and "The Undertaking" by Audrey Magee. Before this evening, "A Girl Is a Half-formed Thing" did get rave notices and recognition. It has already captured Ithe £10,000 Goldsmith's Prize for original fiction, and the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year.

The publisher is a new one: Galley Beggar Press, located in Norwich, Britain. That's where McBride currently lives with her husband, William Galinsky, a theater director. The novelist was born in Liverpool, grew up in Ireland and moved to the UK to study at Drama Centre London.

"A Girl Is a Half-formed Thing" will be published in the United States in September by Coffee House Press, a nonprofit literary published based in Minneapolis. As of today, the British version was available only from third-party sellers through and only as a pre-order title from Barnes & Noble.