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UC graduate wrote Booker Prize chapters two years ago

UC graduate wrote Booker Prize chapters while UC’s Writer in Residence two years ago

October 16, 2013

Christchurch-educated Eleanor Catton, who today won the prestigious Man Booker Prize, wrote chapters of the award-winning book The Luminaries while Writer in Residence at the University of Canterbury (UC) in 2011.

Catton has, at 28, become the youngest author to ever win the award. Her novel, The Luminaries, is set in 1866 gold-rush Hokitika. She is the second New Zealander to win the Booker, with Keri Hulme winning in 1985 for The Bone People.

UC’s Acting Head of English, Christina Stachurski, says Catton received her Bachelor of Arts degree at UC after three years of study in 2005.

``We recognised Ellie as a writer of some exceptional talent and she was appointed Writer in Residence in 2011 when she wrote chapters of The Luminaries while based here on campus.

``Keri Hulme, was also UC’s Writer in Residence here on campus when she won her prize for The Bone People, so that’s a remarkable achievement for our Department and for UC.

``But today we are just so proud of Ellie. She worked in an office down the hallway here. She is a lovely person, unpretentious and fun to have around. Her father, Dr Phillip Catton, was a senior lecturer in philosophy here too,’’ Stachurski says.

Eleanor Catton was today presented with the award, one of the world's highest literary prizes, by the Duchess of Cornwall during a ceremony at the Guildhall in London.


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