Lisa McInerney wins the 2016 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction

Lisa McInerney has won the 2016 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction for her debut The Glorious Heresies (John Murray).

Chair of judges Margaret Mountford presented McInerney with the £30,000 prize and a bronze figurine trophy (“Bessie”) at the ceremony at the Royal Festival Hall in London last night (9th June), hosted by novelist and co-founder of the prize Kate Mosse.

McInerney, who is from Galway in Ireland, is the author behind award-winning blog “Arse End of Ireland”.

Set in Cork’s underworld, her winning novel is about the lives of five “misfits” and how they collide after a messy murder in which a grandmother kills an intruder by striking him over the head with a religious ornament. It has also been shortlisted for the 2016 Desmond Elliott Prize, to be announced on 22nd June, and was longlisted for the 2016 Dylan Thomas Prize.

McInerney told The Bookseller she was “stunned” to win the prize. “I’m absolutely stunned, but in the best possible way,” she said. “It hasn’t sunk in, I don’t expect it to for quite some time. I can’t believe it, because it was such a strong shortlist and, before that, it was such a strong longlist. Even getting to the shortlist I couldn’t believe.”

Mountford, a lawyer and businesswoman, described The Glorious Heresies as “a jolly good read” and a “wonderful winner”, whose “complex characters” had impressed the judges. She told The Bookseller: “What we’re looking for is excellence, originality and accessibility and I think it scores really highly on all of those. It’s a vibrant, fresh book, and it’s pacey. It’s got wonderful thread of humour running through it, that sort of black humour, particularly in the way the characters express themselves, but also in their thinking.”

The Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction celebrates and promotes “excellence, originality and accessibility in women’s writing from throughout the world” and is the UK’s only annual book award for fiction written by a woman. It is open to any woman writing in English, regardless of nationality or country of residence, or chosen subject matter.

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