The first ever winner of the Goldsmiths Prize also scooped the Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction last night (June 4).
Debut author Eimear McBride beat literary heavyweights such as Donna Tartt for her book, A Girl is a Half-formed Thing.
The novel – which took a decade to get published – was inspired by her experience of nursing her brother who suffered a brain tumour.
After many years of rejection, the book was picked up by independent publishers Galley Beggar Press and was thrust into the spotlight when Eimear won the Goldsmiths Prize last November.
The 37-year-old spoke to News Shopper after she won the award at the New Cross-based university about how difficult it was to find a publisher.
She said: “It only took six months to write but I spent around nine or ten years trying to get a publisher.
“Most said it was too difficult and not populist enough.
“My biggest tip for budding writers is discipline."
She said the prize was “imaginative” and “nothing less than I would expect from Goldsmiths”.
The university, which runs a busy schedule of events from its Writers' Centre, headed by Blake Morrison, was also praised by the publishers last night for recognising the novel’s potential so early on.
They tweeted from their @GalleyBeggars account, after the announcement of the Baileys Prize at the Royal Festival Hall: “Huge thanks too, to @GoldsmithsPrize - who recognised A Girl for the gem it is and has given prizes a push back in the right direction.”
Baileys Prize chair of judges Helen Fraser said: “This is an extraordinary new voice – this novel will move and astonish the reader.”
The shortlist also included Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie for Americanah, Hannah Kent for Burial Rites, Jhumpa Lahiri for The Lowland, Audrey Magee for The Undertaking, and Donna Tartt for The Goldfinch.
Eimear is now working on her second novel.