New Zealand's Eleanor Catton wins 2013 Man Booker prize

Thu Oct 17, 2013 7:34am EDT
 
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By Paul Casciato

LONDON (Reuters) - New Zealand author Eleanor Catton won the 2013 Man Booker prize for English fiction on Tuesday for her novel "The Luminaries", to become the youngest winner in the award's 45-year history.

The 28-year-old novelist poked fun at the size of her 848-page tome about the 19th century New Zealand gold rush and thanked British publishers Granta for their patience.

"I've actually just had to buy a new handbag because my old handbag wasn't big enough to fit my book," Catton told journalists at a hasty press conference.

Chair of judges Robert Macfarlane described Catton's second novel, set in the New Zealand goldfields of 1866, as dazzling and very clever.

"'The Luminaries' is a magnificent novel: awesome in its structural complexity; addictive in its story-telling; and magical in its conjuring of a world of greed and gold," he said.

Catton's story tells the tale of Walter Moody, who arrives in the goldfields to seek his fortune and immediately stumbles across a tense gathering of 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.   Continued...

 
New Zealand writer Eleanor Catton, winner of the Man Booker Prize 2013, poses for photographs at the Guildhall in central London, October 15, 2013. REUTERS/Olivia Harris