Eleanor Catton wins the Man Booker Prize

October 15, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Eleanor_CattonAt twenty-eight years of age, Canadian-born, New Zealand–raised Eleanor Catton has become the youngest person ever to win the Man Booker Prize. Catton won for her second novel, The Luminaries, which, at close to 850 pages, is also the longest volume ever to claim the prize.

Of the winning book, chair of judges Robert Macfarlane said, “Maturity is evident in every sentence, in the rhythms and balances. It is a novel of astonishing control.”

According to The Globe and Mail, the author referred to her award-winning novel as “a publisher’s nightmare”: “The shape and form of the book made certain kinds of editorial suggestions not only mathematically impossible, but – even more egregious – astrologically impossible.”

In her acceptance remarks, Catton spoke about the difference between value and worth, which is cheering, but also somewhat ironic for an author claiming a prize of £50,000. Catton is also in the running for the English-language Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction.

Catton’s win comes at an auspicious time: next year, the Man Booker Prize will change its submissions criteria to allow any novel in English published in the U.K. to be eligible for consideration, regardless of the nationality of the author. Previous rumours indicated that the award, till now restricted to authors from the U.K., Ireland, or the Commonwealth, was being opened only to U.S. authors.

We wait with bated breath to see whether the Scotiabank Giller Prize will follow suit.

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