New Zealand author Eleanor Catton has become the youngest person ever to win literature’s most sought-after prize.
In a glitzy event in London today, the 28-year-old was this morning named winner of the 2013 Man Booker Prize for her novel The Luminaries.
A noticeably stunned Catton took to the stage at London’s Guildhall and was presented with the award by Camilla, The Duchess of Cornwall.
She gave special thanks to her UK publishers Granta and New Zealand publishers Victoria University Press, who never pushed her to produce a more-commercially-viable book.
At 832 pages The Luminaries was the longest novel to win the prize, surpassing Hilary Mantel’s 672 page 2009 prize winner Wolf Hall.
“The shape and the form of the book made certain kinds of editorial suggestions not only mathematically impossible but even more egregiously astrologically impossible,” Catton said.
Her publishers struck the “delicate balance between making art and making money”.
The Booker was widely-regarded as literature’s most prestigious prize and the win, announced at 9.30am (NZT), would catapult Victoria University-educated Catton to a massive worldwide audience.
She won for her second novel, 19th century West Coast gold rush murder story The Luminaries.
Winning the Booker at any age is a massive achievement. To win it at the age of 28 is almost unthinkable. With Lorde topping the US charts at the age of 16, and 16 year old Lydia Ko being the top ranked female amateur golfer, young Kiwi women are rocking the world at the moment. Music, literature and golf are all what I call global areas of arena (as opposed to rugby, which has just a few countries seriously compete at it).
It is of course coincidence that all three are at the top of the world at the moment, but some nice reflected glory for New Zealanders as we can take pride in their achievements.Tags: Eleanor Catton, Lorde, Lydia Ko