Eimear McBride’s first novel A Girl is a Half-formed Thing tells the story of a young woman’s relationship with her brother and the long shadow cast by his childhood brain tumour. McBride grew up in the West of Ireland and her book has already been critically acclaimed having won the the Goldsmiths Prize (a prize that rewards fiction that breaks the mould or opens up new possibilities for the novel form) and been shortlisted for the inaugural Folio Prize.
The third debut novelist on the shortlist is Australian Hannah Kent whose book Burial Rites, inspired by a true story, tells of the final days of a young woman accused of murder in Iceland in 1829.
The other three books on the shortlist are by well established prize-winning authors.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the Nigerian writer whose Half of a Yellow Sun won the prize in 2007, is shortlisted for Americanah. The Pulitzer prize winning author Jhumpa Lahiri's The Lowland - the story of two brothers brought up in Calcutta in the late 1960s - was shortlisted for last year's Man Booker Prize. Donna Tartt completes the list with her best-seller The Goldfinch. Chair of judges Helen Fraser said each of this year’s shortlisted books was “original and extraordinary in its own way” and offered “something different and exciting and illuminating”.
The winner of the £30,000 prize will be announced in London on June 4th 2014.