Eleanor Catton, the New Zealand author, at the age of just 28 years, became the youngest ever winner of the Man Booker Prize for her novel The Luminaries on 15 October 2013 at the London's Guildhall.
Her 832-page novel The Luminaries is the story of 19th-century goldfields, which won 50000 Pound Man Booker Prize 2013 along with a trophy, and Emmanuel Roman. It is important to note that The Luminaries is also the longest work to win this prize in the history of 45 years of Man Booker Prize. She is the second New Zealander to win the Man Booker Prize, after Keri Hulme for The Bone People in 1985.
The Man Booker Prize 2013 was announced live on the BBC News Channel and was presented by the Duchess of Cornwall. Other authors in the shortlist were Jhumpa Lahiri for The Lowland, NoViolet Bulawayo for We Need New Names, Colm Toibin for The Testament of Mary, Ruth Ozeki for A Tale for the Time Being and Jim Crace for Harvest.
The Luminaries is the longest ever book to win this Prize, beating Hilary Mantel's 672-page Wolf Hall which received the Man Booker Prize 2009. Prior to Eleanor Catton, the youngest winner of this Prize was Ben Okri, who was 32 when he grabbed the prize for The Famished Road in 1991. Prior to Ben Okri, Kiran Desai was the youngest woman to win the prize at the age of 35 years for her book entitled The Inheritance of Loss in 2006.
About the winning novel- The Luminaries
• The novel entitled The Luminaries is set on the goldfields of New Zealand in 1866. It was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2013 earlier and eventually also won the prize.
• The Luminaries is the second novel by Eleanor Catton and was published by Granta in September 2013.
• It is primarily a murder mystery set in New Zealand and has an astrology theme running throughout.
• Robert Macfarlane, Chair of the panel of judges described it as “animated by a weird struggle between compulsion and conversion: within its pages, men and women proceed according to their fixed fates, while gold – as flakes, nuggets, coins and bars – ceaselessly shifts its shapes around them.”
• Eleanor Catton was just 25 years old when she started the book The Luminaries.
About Eleanor Catton
• Eleanor Catton is the New Zealand author who was born in the year 1985.
• She went to the Burnside High School and studied English at the University of Canterbury. She completed her Master's in Creative Writing at The Institute of Modern Letters, Victoria University of Wellington.
• In the year 2008, she was awarded the fellowship to the Iowa Writers' Workshop.
• In the year 2009, she was described as the 2009 golden girl of fiction.
• In the year, 2011, she was the Ursula Bethell Writer in Residence at the University of Canterbury.
• Her debut novel was The Rehearsal, in the year 2008. It was written as a part of her Master’s thesis.
• Her second novel entitled The Luminaries was published in the year 2013, for which she also won the Man Booker Prize 2013.
• Her first book The Rehearsal (2008) was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award as well as for the Dylan Thomas Prize. It was also longlisted for the Orange Prize.
About the Man Booker Prize 2013
• The Man Booker Prize promotes the finest in fiction by rewarding the very best book of the year.
• The prize is the world's most important literary award and has the power to transform the fortunes of authors and publishers.
• The year 2013 marked the 45th year of the Man Booker Prize.
• The last Prize was won by Hilary Mantel for Bring Up the Bodies, which was the sequel of the Wolf Hall.
• It is important to note that in the year 2014, the Man Booker Prize will open its doors for the authors writing in English from all over the world.
• At present, it is awarded to the English-language authors only from the Commonwealth nations, including the Zimbabwe, Ireland and the United Kingdom.
• The Man Booker Prize was originally called the Booker-McConnell Prize, after the name of the company Booker-McConnell which sponsored this event in the year 1968. It was then known as the Booker Prize or just the Booker.
• Thereafter, in the year 2002, the prize administration was transferred to the Booker Prize Foundation and the title was sponsored by the investment company Man Group. Thus the official title of the prize became the Man Booker Prize.
• Originally, the prize money was 21000 Pound and in the year 2002, it became 50000 Pound under the Man Group sponsorship.
• At present, the Man Booker Prize is one of the richest literary prizes of the world.
First time in the history of the Man Booker Prize
• The Luminaries is the longest work to win this prize in the history of 45 years of Man Booker Prize.
• Eleanor Catton is the youngest ever winner of the Man Booker Prize.
• It is also worth noticing that the 2013 shortlist for the prize was described as one of the best in the history of Man Booker Prize.
• Eleanor Catton is also the last winner of the Man Booker prize which at present is confined to writers from the Commonwealth countries and Ireland only. From the year 2014, entries from all over the world will be welcomed in the Man Booker Prize.