Eleanor Catton, Man Booker Prize winning author of The Luminaries, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

Earlier this year we interviewed a young New Zealand writer we believed was destined for great things.

That writer was Eleanor Catton, the newly crowned Man Booker Prize Winner for 2013. Sit back and enjoy our chat with her, highlights of which were featured recently in the LA Times.

the-luminariesThe Booktopia Book Guru asks

Eleanor Catton

Man Booker Prize winning author of The Luminaries

Ten Terrifying Questions


1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?

I was born in London, Ontario, Canada, while my dad was studying at the University of Western Ontario. (My birth was a bit of an accident: nobody else in my family is Canadian.) The family moved back to New Zealand when I was six, and I grew up in Christchurch.

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At 28, New Zealand’s Eleanor Catton has become the Man Booker Prize’s youngest winner for her extraordinary sophomore novel The Luminaries.

Catton was born in 1985 in Canada and raised in New Zealand. She completed an MA in Creative Writing at Victoria University in 2007 and won the Adam Prize in Creative Writing for The Rehearsal. She was the recipient of the 2008 Glenn Schaeffer Fellowship to study for a year at the prestigious Iowa Writers’ Workshop in the US and went on to hold a position as Adjunct Professor of Creative Writing there, teaching Creative Writing and Popular Culture.

Eleanor won a 2010 New Generation Award. She currently lives in Wellington, New Zealand.

The Luminaries

by Eleanor Catton

It is 1866, and Walter Moody has come to make his fortune upon the New Zealand goldfields. On the night of his arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of twelve local men, who have met in secret to discuss a series of unsolved crimes. A wealthy man has vanished, a whore has tried to end her life, and an enormous fortune has been discovered in the home of a luckless drunk. Moody is soon drawn into the mystery: a network of fates and fortunes that is as complex and exquisitely patterned as the night sky.

The Luminaries is an extraordinary piece of fiction, which more than fulfils the promise of The Rehearsal. Like that novel, it is full of narrative, linguistic and psychological pleasures, and has a fiendishly clever and original structuring device. Written in pitch-perfect historical register, richly evoking a mid-19th century world of shipping and banking and goldrush boom and bust, it is also a ghost story, and a gripping mystery.

It is a thrilling achievement for someone still in her mid-twenties, and will confirm for critics and readers that Eleanor Catton is one of the brightest stars in the international writing firmament.

Click here to buy The Luminaries from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local Bookstore

Click here to buy The Luminaries from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local Bookstore

Man Booker Shortlist 2013 Announced

Man Booker 2013 logo blank space for croppingThe 2013 Man Booker Shortlist has been announced, with an incredibly diverse list and more than a few surprises.

Eleanor Catton, 28, is the youngest to make the cut with her book The Luminaries, and has been installed as the early favourite. As a New Zealander, she is now an honorary Australian.

Robert Macfarlane, chair of the judges, said the shortlist was “instantly striking” because of its “global range”.

“It shows the English language novel to be a form of world literature,”  The list is made up of four women and two men – all of them of different nationalities.

“This is a shortlist that crosses continents, that joins countries and that spans centuries,” Macfarlane added. “These novels are all about the strange ways in which people are brought together and the painful ways in which they are held apart.”

Take a closer look at the 2013 Shortlist, and be your own judge…
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Take A Closer Look At The Longlist For The 2013 Man Booker Prize

Man Booker 2013 logo blank space for croppingThe Man Booker Prize is usually an event on the calender that doesn’t cause much surprise. In the past it has rewarded established writers and familiar names of the literary elite.

But in the last few years, things have changed. The panel has clearly cast their net wider and this year’s list may be the most eclectic in recent memory. From the extraordinary, sweeping The Luminaries to the epic thriller The Kills.

One thing appears for certain. The Man Booker Prize this year will be earned with risk and innovation, not just a body of work.

Take a closer look at the 2013 Longlist, and be your own judge…
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