A Girl Is a Half-formed Thing by Eimear McBride, first published by Galley Beggar Press and previously covered by TeleRead, triumph for independent publishing, has been shortlisted for the UK’s Desmond Elliott Prize, described by the Daily Telegraph as the “most prestigious award for first-time novelists.” The book is one of a shortlist of three, also comprising The Letter Bearer by Robert Allison from Granta Books and Ballistics by D.W. Wilson from Bloomsbury, which the Prize preamble describes as “a triumph for independent publishing.”
“Penned in just six months, Eimear McBride’s A Girl Is A Half-formed Thing was initially shelved after being rejected by every major publisher,” states the Prize blurb. “Finally emerging nine years later from Galley Beggar Press, it is a story of sisterly love which has already received much critical acclaim, including an acknowledgement of ‘genius’ from author and critic Anne Enright.” (Nice to see Big Publishing once again vindicate all its income, status, and privileges.)
The Prize, worth £10,000 ($16,823) “is presented in the name of the acclaimed publisher and literary agent Desmond Elliott, whose personal commitment to finding and nurturing new authors is perpetuated by this award.” This year’s judges, who drew up the shortlist, are Isabel Berwick, Associate Editor of the Financial Times Life and Arts section, Patrick Neale, former President of The Bookseller’s Association and owner of Jaffe and Neale bookshop in Chipping Norton, and novelist Chris Cleave. The final winner will be selected by the judges and announced at a ceremony at Fortnum & Mason in London on June 26th, 2014.