McBride wins first Goldsmiths Prize

McBride wins first Goldsmiths Prize

Eimear McBride's A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing has won the first Goldsmiths Prize for experimental fiction.

McBride, published by Galley Beggar Press, wins £10,000.

Goldsmiths, part of the University of London, set up the prize with the New Statesman and Goldsmiths Writers' Centre, to recognise published fiction that opens up the possibilities of the novel form.

A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing tells the story of a young woman and her brother, whose life is impacted by a childhood brain tumour. McBride, who wrote the book in six months, spent nine years trying to get it published, before it was accepted by Galley Beggar Press.

She said: "There was a long time when I thought I would never have this book published, and I felt quite depressed about the state of publishing as a result. To have a prize like this is a really wonderful thing to encourage writers to be adventurous, to continue to be adventurous, to encourage publishers to be adventurous, and readers to be adventurous."

The prize was judged by novelists Nicola Barker and Gabriel Josipovici, former culture editor of the New Statesman Jonathan Derbyshire, and Dr Tim Parnell, chair of judges and head of the department of English and comparative literature at Goldsmiths.

Parnell said: "Boldly original and utterly compelling, Eimear McBride’s A Girl is a Half-formed Thing is just the kind of book the Goldsmiths Prize was created to celebrate… Serious discussion of the art of fiction is too often confined to the pages of learned journals and we hope that going forward the Prize and the events surrounding it will stimulate a much wider debate about the novel."

The full shortlist was Harvest by Jim Crace (Picador); Exodus by Lars Iyer (Melville House); Red or Dead by David Peace (Faber & Faber); Artful by Ali Smith (Penguin); and Tapestry by Philip Terry (Reality Street).