Eleanor Catton’s second novel, The Luminaries, was the clear winner of 2013’s Man Booker Prize, a double coup given the book is more than 800 pages long and New Zealander Catton is only 28 years old.
The Luminaries has dazzled reviewers and literary judges alike with its energy, imagination and sheer originality. A Victorian style murder mystery set in gold rush era New Zealand, its twelve chapters are organised according to the star signs of its characters, and range from 300 to only two pages in length.
‘A true achievement,’ wrote the New York Times. ‘Catton has built a lively parody of a 19th-century novel, and in doing so created a novel for the 21st, something utterly new.’
Eleanor Catton will speak to Louise Swinn about writing an epic novel and what it’s like to win the world’s most famed literary prize.
(Photo: Robert Catto)
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Eleanor Catton was born in 1985 in Canada and raised in Christchurch, New Zealand. She won the 2007 Sunday Star-Times short-story competition, the 2008 Glenn Schaeffer Fellowship to the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, the 2008 Louis Johnson New Writers’ Bursary and was named as one of Amazon’... Read more
Louise Swinn is a journalist, editor, critic and writer, co-founder of Sleepers independent publishers, the Small Press Network, and the Stella Prize. Louise edited Choice Words (Allen & Unwin, 2019), a collection of pieces demystifying abortion, and currently works as a journalist with the Aust... Read more
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