Eimear McBride's A Girl is a Half-formed Thing is one of the three debut novels, all from independent publishers, which have been shortlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize.
The Letter Bearer by Robert Allison (Granta) and Ballistics by DW Wilson (Bloomsbury) are the other titles in the running for the prize. Allison's novel follows a nameless motorcyclist left for dead in the Libyan desert discovered by a band of British Army deserters. Ballistics is set in the Canadian Rockies, where a man is searching for his father.
McBride's novel, originally published by Galley Beggar Press, with Faber now co-publishing, last year won the Goldsmiths Prize, as well as being shortlisted for the inaugural Folio Prize, and currently competing for the Baileys Women's Prize. The book is narrated a young woman and looks at the long shadow cast by her brother's childhood brain tumour.
The shortlist was chosen by Isabel Berwick, associate editor of FT Life and Arts, bookseller Patrick Neale, and novelist Chris Cleave. Cleave said: "This was a superb longlist of unusually accomplished debut novels, some showing classic craft at the highest level and others offering breathtaking innovation. To pick a shortlist was to measure owls against swifts."
The £10,000 prize is named for publisher and agent Desmond Elliott, who died in 2003. The award is given each year for a debut novel. The winner will be announced on 3rd July.
Last year's winner was Ros Barber for her novel in verse, The Marlow Papers (Sceptre).
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