Norwich novelist’s debut novel scoops £10,000 award

Norfolk and Norwich Festival director William Galinsky, and his family, his wife Eimear McBride, and

Norfolk and Norwich Festival director William Galinsky, and his family, his wife Eimear McBride, and daughter, one-year-old Éadaoin Galinsky, with their dogs, Myrtle, left, 4, and Cyril, 3, pictured in March 2013. Picture: Denise Bradley - Credit: Archant 2013

A debut novelist from Norwich has won a £10,000 literary prize for her book, nine years after it was first rejected by publishers.

Eimear McBride picked up the Goldsmiths Prize for A Girl Is A Half-formed Thing at an event in London.

The novel, which is the story of a young woman's relationship with her brother and the long shadow cast by his childhood brain tumour, was written in just six months but was initially rejected by every publisher she sent it to.

Ms McBride, 37, who was born in Liverpool but grew up Sligo and Mayo in Ireland, put the novel away for years after it was rejected as too experimental before submitting it to publishers again this year without making any changes.

She said: 'I think there is an audience for this kind of work out there and this is a great opportunity for them to be able to find it.'


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The book finally found a home at Norwich publishers Galley Beggar Press earlier this year.

Co-director Sam Jordison said: 'We always knew that Eimear was wonderful and it's great to have that faith confirmed. As soon as we read Girl we were sure that it should be published, and that it would find readers.

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'We were also certain that this book was very important. In fact, we saw printing it as a duty.'

Ms McBride moved to Norwich in 2011 with her husband, William Galinsky, the director of the Norfolk and Norwich Festival. The couple live in the Golden Triangle area of Norwich with their daughter Éadaoin.

Dr Tim Parnell, who chaired the judging panel, said the book was 'boldly original and utterly compelling'.

Ms McBride's book beat five other shortlisted titles including Jim Crace's Harvest and David Peace's Red Or Dead about the life of Liverpool FC manager Bill Shankly.

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