At an awards ceremony at the Royal Festival Hall at London’s Southbank Centre chair of judges Margaret Mountford presented McInerney with the £30,000 prize and the Bessie, a limited edition bronze figurine.
Margaret Mountford gave a fascinating insight into the judging process. “After a passionate discussion around a very strong shortlist, we chose Lisa McInerney’s The Glorious Heresies, a superbly original, compassionate novel that delivers insights into the very darkest of lives through humour and skilful storytelling,” she said. “A fresh new voice and a wonderful winner.”
The Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction is the UK’s only annual book award for fiction written by a woman and celebrates excellence, originality and accessibility in women’s writing from throughout the world. Established in 1996, the prize is awarded for the best novel of the year written by a woman. Any woman writing in English – whatever her nationality, country of residence, age or subject matter – is eligible.
The judges for the 2016 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction were Margaret Mountford, TV presenter Naga Munchetty, writer and journalist Laurie Penny, author Elif Shafak and singer Tracey Thorn.
Novelist Kate Mosse, the co-founder of the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction, said: “This year, the prize comes of age. Since 1996, we have honoured novelists of exceptional talent, have promoted and celebrated fiction from all over the world, have brought together readers and writers and supported literacy, research and reading initiatives. Now, as we celebrate the work of Lisa Mcinnerney, our 21st winner, the list of those shortlisted and winning novels, past and present, stands as a tribute to women’s talent, ingenuity, originality and imagination.”
Lisa McInerney, who is from Galway, is the author of award-winning blog Arse End of Ireland. Her debut novel, The Glorious Heresies, has 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, edited by Sinéad Gleeson, and Town and Country, edited by Kevin Barry.
In addition to the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction winner announcement, aspiring novelist Queenie Durkin was named as the winner of the Baileys Women’s Prize/Grazia First Chapter Competition for unpublished writers.
Image by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images for Baileys