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'A major literary figure of the next generation'

27 June 2016

Sometimes an author seems to step new-minted into bestsellerdom and, even rarer, literary acclaim. Lisa McInerney is such a writer and her winning of the Bailey Prize earlier in the month, followed by the Desmond Elliott Prize this week, marks a remarkable debut.

Her book The Glorious Heresies is published by London publisher John Murray. Chair of the judges novelist Iain Pears said:

"We knew we had found a major literary figure of the next generation when we made our choice last month - it's good to see other prize judges have subsequently agreed with us. Lisa is a genuinely exciting writer - there is electricity running through her prose.

"This is a complex, unusual, violent book, bleak but with welcome humour, and she manages a huge cast with confidence; there is never any doubt that she is in complete control, right to the unexpected but perfect ending. I know what it is to try and control a complicated text, and spent years learning my trade. She has done it on her first outing, and that is close to astounding."

Speaking at the awards, Pears called on publishers to support editors, as well as authors. "We should never forget that editors and authors work in partnership; each must support the other. Authors need time to grow and develop, but editors need the encouragement to stick with them during this long - and sometimes erratic - process and they deserve our applause when they do - applause the Desmond Elliott Prize is happy to deliver. With luck, all the authors on our shortlist will get that support, as they have already shown what they can achieve, and have given a hint about what they might be able to accomplish in the future."

At the Baileys prize-giving on 9 June, Chair of the judges Margaret Mountford described the book as "fresh and humorous," with the author "turning the base metal of her characters into pure gold." In a later statement Mountford said: "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. A fresh new voice and a wonderful winner."

Living in Ireland, McInerney has been writing the sardonic blog Arse End of Ireland for some time, you can find her humorous tips for Writing a Novel here.