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Congratulations to Eleanor Catton

Congratulations to Eleanor Catton

The Michael King Writers’ Centre joins the New Zealand literary and book community in congratulating Eleanor Catton for winning the 2013 Man Booker Prize for Literature for her novel The Luminaries.

The Man Booker Prize is arguably the world’s most prestigious award for literature. Eleanor is the youngest writer ever to win the award and only the second New Zealander. The award was announced at a ceremony at the Guildhall in London this morning.

The Luminaries is an 832-page novel set in during the goldrush in Hokitika in the 1860s. Although it has a complex plot and is full of astrological allusions, it reads as a thriller that explores notions of wealth and value.

There were more than 150 entries for the Man Booker Prize this year and Eleanor’s book was one of six on the short-list, which included the world’s top writers.

Michael King Writers’ Centre chair Catriona Ferguson, who is also chief executive of the NZ Book Council, said the win is an amazing achievement and she congratulated all of those involved, including Catton’s New Zealand publisher Victoria University Press.

“Eleanor is an extraordinary talent. This is matched by her dedication to her craft and sheer hard work. The Luminaries is only her second published novel. It is a very fine book and she is a very fine writer, with a huge future ahead of her.”

Ms Ferguson said she was delighted that the Michael King Writers’ Centre had been able to make a contribution to her success. Catton wrote the final draft of The Luminaries while she was a writer in residence at the centre last year, holding the six-month University of Auckland Residency, which is supported by Creative New Zealand. She also worked on the novel while she held the Ursula Bethel Residency at the University of Canterbury in 2011.

“Many New Zealand writers depend on the grants and awards that are available to produce major works such as this, and many of these are supported by Creative New Zealand. This investment in New Zealand writing will pay dividends in terms of the international exposure to New Zealand and our stories.”

The only other writer to win the Man Booker Prize is Keri Hulme for The Bone People in 1985. Mr Pip by Lloyd Jones was on the shortlist for the Man Booker Prize in 2007 and won several other awards. It has recently been released on film. Since her residency last year Eleanor Catton has moved to Auckland and teaches part-time in the creative writing programme at MIT in Manukau.


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