New Zealand author Eleanor Catton has won literature’s top prize, the Man Booker, at a ceremony in London today.
At 28, Ms Catton is the youngest person ever to have been awarded the prize. The Luminaries, her second novel, was up against works by well-established writers such as Colm Toibin, Jim Crace and Jhumpa Lahiri.
In 2007 Ms Catton completed the Master of Arts in Creative Writing from Victoria University’s International Institute of Modern letters at Victoria University of Wellington. The Luminaries and Ms Catton’s first novel The Rehearsal are both published by Victoria University Press.
Victoria University Vice-Chancellor Professor Pat Walsh says the University is immensely proud of Ms Catton’s achievement.
“It is an outstanding achievement for Eleanor, for Victoria University and for New Zealand literature. It is also a testament to the calibre of the creative writing and publishing capability at Victoria.”
Ms Catton’s New Zealand publisher, Fergus Barrowman of Victoria University Press, who attended the prize ceremony at Guildhall in London, says he is thrilled at Ms Catton’s triumph.
“We are delighted for Ellie and for the further international recognition the Man Booker Prize will bring The Luminaries. It’s a big ambitious book written by a fearlessly intelligent and talented writer. It’s a novel for readers who love great storytelling and it’s wonderful that the judges have chosen to recognise that with this illustrious prize.”
Victoria University Press say the book has been selling extremely well since and is now onto its fifth print run.
The Luminaries is a West Coast gold-rush murder story, set in Hokitika in the 1860s. It is wide in scope with a large cast of characters and a richly patterned structure which stretches over 848 pages.
The Luminaries was published in August 2013 and quickly achieved tremendous international critical success which has been topped off by the 2013 Man Booker Prize win.