Congratulations to Eimear McBride, originally from the Republic of Ireland but long-term Norfolk resident, on winning the Bailey Prize (until recently the Orange Prize) with her book A Girl is a Half-formed Thing.
But in particular, congratulations to her for daring to write in an impressionist style with ‘poor’ syntax and disjointed sentences that must have infuriated every formula-obsessed editor and publisher who read it (and of course rejected it). It is no surprise that, after nine years of trying, she was in the end published by a new, tiny but fiercely-independent local publisher, able to think outside the box and recognise the book’s value. “I didn’t set out to create a challenge,” she is reported as saying, “But I am not interested in straight writing”. Good for you, Ms McBride.
Mainstream publishers are, she believes, unimaginative, The Times reports. “They seem to think readers are passive, and that being a reader is the same as being a TV viewer, but it isn’t. The constant regurgitation — ‘This was successful, so let’s have a bit more of it’ — has a very deadening effect on literature.”
Ay, there’s the rub.