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ISBN 978-1-909585-06-5
First published March 2016; 248 pp paperback; 210 x 135 mm
Click here to read a pdf excerpt.

David Collard is a regular contributor to the Times Literary Supplement, the Literary Review and many other publications. He wrote the first print review (in the TLS) of A Girl Is a Half-formed Thing.

Cover painting by Philip Maltman (

David Collard  About a Girl:
A Reader’s Guide to Eimear McBride’s
A Girl Is a Half-formed Thing


 It seemed to me that when attempting to tell a story from a point so far back in the mind that it is completely experiential, completely gut-reactive and balancing on the moment just before language becomes formatted thought, English needs to be made to pick up its feet and move.’

In late 2003 Eimear McBride started writing A Girl Is a Half-formed Thing, and finished it the following summer. After almost a decade of rejection, it was finally published in 2013 by a tiny Norwich-based press, Galley Beggar; it won the Baileys Prize and four other major prizes, gathering superlative reviews along the way, and in 2014 it was published in America.

From nowhere to near-universal acclaim – how did this happen? What does such an extraordinary reception for an uncompromisingly experimental and uncommercial novel signify?

About a Girl provides a full record of the progress of McBride’s novel from its writing, its serial rejections and its initial publication through to the prizes, its recption in the US and the stage adaptation, based on interviews with those involved. Also included here are a critical account of the novel’s reclamation of modernism, an extensive interview with McBride and transcriptions of previously unpublished early drafts of the novel that made her name.

Written with the co-operation of Eimear McBride, About a Girl is a comprehensive account of an unprecedented literary phenomenon that enlarges our understanding of both McBride’s novel and the contemporary literary scene.