Congratulations to Eimear McBride

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.


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