Entertainment & Arts

McInerney's murder tale wins Baileys book prize

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Media captionLisa McInerney has won the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction with her debut novel, The Glorious Heresies

Lisa McInerney has won the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction with her debut novel The Glorious Heresies.

Her book details how a messy murder affects the lives of five misfits who exist on the fringes of Ireland's post-financial crash society.

Head judge Margaret Mountford presented McInerney with £30,000 and a limited edition bronze figurine - the Bessie - at London's Royal Festival Hall.

Mountford praised "a superbly original, compassionate novel".

She added that the judges had "a passionate discussion around a very strong shortlist", saying The Glorious Heresies "delivers insights into the very darkest of lives through humour and skilful storytelling".

This year's judges also included writer and singer Tracey Thorn, journalist Naga Munchetty, writer and journalist Laurie Penny and author Elif Shafakhe.

Image copyright John Murray Publishers
Image caption Her book has also won book of the year prize from several newspapers

Novelist and co-founder of the prize Kate Mosse said: "Since 1996, we have honoured novelists of exceptional talent, have promoted and celebrated fiction from all over the world.

"Now, as we celebrate the work of Lisa McInerney the list of those shortlisted and winning novels, past and present, stands as a tribute to women's talent, ingenuity, originality and imagination."

McInerney was one of six writers on the shortlist, which included fellow debut writers Cynthia Bond and Hannah Rothschild, along with previously shortlisted author Anne Enright plus Hanya Yanagihara and Elizabeth McKenzie.

The shortlisted books were as follows:

  • Cynthia Bond - Ruby (Two Roads) - American - first Novel
  • Anne Enright - The Green Road (Jonathan Cape) - Irish - sixth Novel
  • Lisa McInerney - The Glorious Heresies (John Murray) - Irish - first Novel
  • Elizabeth McKenzie - The Portable Veblen (Fourth Estate) - American - second Novel
  • Hannah Rothschild - The Improbability of Love ( Bloomsbury) - British - first Novel
  • Hanya Yanagihara - A Little Life (Picador) - American - second Novel

McInerney, who is the author of a blog which wryly documents modern life there, has also been shortlisted for the 2016 Desmond Elliott Prize and longlisted for the 2016 Dylan Thomas Prize. Her short stories have featured in The Stinging Fly, on BBC Radio 4 and in the anthologies The Long Gaze Back.

She has written in her blog about her unconventional upbringing. Born to an unmarried mother, she was raised by her grandparents on a council estate in County Galway and later worked in the office of a construction company in Cork.

"I was raised by my grandparents because in the 1980s, children born to unmarried mothers were saddled with the legal status of 'illegitimate', and my family wanted better for me," she wrote.

Foyle's Frances Gertler said McInerney's win "won't please everyone".

"This is a brave choice of winner by the least conventional and edgiest writer on the list, whose big, gritty and compelling novel about Ireland's dark underbelly features a cast of alcoholics, drug dealers and prostitutes, leaving a trail of sex, violence and crime in their wake," she said.

Formerly known as the Orange Prize, the book award was set up in 1996 and is awarded for the best full-length novel of the year written by a woman and published in the UK.

Last year's winner was Ali Smith for How to be Both.

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