Man Booker Prize: Eleanor Catton Wins The AwardBy: Tobias Roth - October 15, 2013
The Man Booker Prize of 2013 was awarded to Eleanor Catton. Catton is a lives in New Zealand, and only 28 years old. She was born in Canada, but moved to New Zealand at the age of 6. This makes her the youngest author to ever win the award, which is the highest literary honor to receive in Great Britain. In addition to being the youngest author to be awarded the prize, the book also sets a record of being the longest book to win the award, at 832 pages.
Each year, a different author’s work is awarded for their work in fiction, and this year the award went to The Luminaries, Catton’s latest book, which was published in September of 2013. She was awarded the prize today, and it was presented to her by Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall. She has previously written one other novel, The Rehearsal.
The Luminaries is set during New Zealand’s gold rush, and is described as a layered murder mystery, centered around a group of men with intertwined fates. Other nominees for this year’s award included A Tale For The Time Being by Ruth Ozeki, Harvest by Jim Crace, The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahir, The Testament of Mary by Colm Toibin, and We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo.
Last year’s prize went to Bring Up The Bodies by Hilary Mantel. The winner is selected each by the judging panel on the day of the ceremony. This year’s ceremony was a momentous occasion because it marks the last year before the award is opened to entries from the United States and beyond. Just a month ago, it was announced that the Booker Prize Foundation would be open to all novels written in English and published in Britain, regardless of the author’s nationality, finally letting Americans in on the glory as well.
There is only one other author from New Zealand to win the award, Keri Hulme, who won in 1985 for her novel The Bone People. During her speech when she accepted the award, Eleanor Catton thanked her publishers for executing the “elegant balance between making art and making money.” She was stunned at the announcement that she won, calling her lengthy and complex novel, a “publisher’s nightmare.”
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