The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton wins the Man Booker Prize 2013

15 October 2013

Eleanor Catton triumphs as youngest winner of the coveted prize

Eleanor Catton is tonight, Tuesday 15 October, announced as the winner of the 2013 Man Booker Prize for Fiction for The Luminaries, published by Granta.

At 28, Eleanor Catton is the youngest writer to win the prize, in its 45th year. She takes that title from Ben Okri, who was 32 when his novel The Famished Road won the Booker Prize in 1991. Kiran Desai was previously the youngest woman to win, at 35, with The Inheritance of Loss in 2006.

Eleanor is only the second New Zealander to win the prize, following Keri Hulme in 1985 with The Bone People. This is also a first win for independent publisher, Granta.

The Luminaries is Eleanor Catton’s second novel. Set in New Zealand in its nineteenth-century gold rush, it is seemingly a classic Victorian novel with its story of murder, conspiracy and fallen women. Beneath the surface it is in fact far more complex; structured according to astrological charts, it asks questions about fate and destiny, character and personality.

Selected from a shortlist described as ‘the best in living memory’ (Daily Telegraph), The Luminaries was described by the judges as ‘simply luminous; a novel of arch craft and tender heart’. The Guardian describes it as ‘a dazzling feat of a novel, the golden nugget in this year’s Man Booker longlist, a pastiche quite unlike anything I’ve ever come across, so graceful in its plotting and structure.’

Robert Macfarlane, Chair of judges, made the announcement live on the BBC News from the awards dinner at London’s Guildhall. Catton was presented with the winner trophy by HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, and with a cheque for £50,000 from Emmanuel Roman, Chief Executive of Man.

Robert Macfarlane comments: ‘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.’

Winning the Man Booker Prize will bring Eleanor Catton worldwide recognition. Her win follows that of Hilary Mantel (Wolf Hall in 2009 and Bring up the Bodies in 2012), whose double victory in three years secured her the number one spot in the official UK Top 50 chart and book sales of over 1.5 million. In addition to her £50,000 prize, Catton also receives a beautifully bound edition of her book, and a further £2,500 for being shortlisted.

Macfarlane was joined on the 2013 judging panel by: broadcaster Martha Kearney; critic, academic and prize-winning biographer, Robert Douglas-Fairhurst; broadcaster, classicist and critic, Natalie Haynes and essayist and former literary editor of Scotland on Sunday, Stuart Kelly.

Eleanor Catton will take part in her first public event as winner of the prize at Apple’s Regent Street branch on Thursday 17 October.

Further information about the prize can be found on the Man Booker Prize website Daily updates are available on Twitter @ManBookerPrize / #ManBookerPrize.

For all press enquiries please contact:
Amy Barder or Katy MacMillan-Scott at Four Colman Getty
020 3697 4251/ 07956 337231 (Amy)
020 3697 4253/ 07786 567887 (Katy)


The Winner

The Luminaries
Eleanor Catton
(Granta, £18.99)

It is 1866, and Walter Moody has come to make his fortune in the New Zealand goldfields. On arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of twelve 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.

Eleanor Catton was born on 24 September 1985 in Canada and raised in New Zealand. She holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, where she also held an adjunct professorship, and an MA in fiction writing from the International Institute of Modern Letters. She currently lives in Auckland, New Zealand. Her debut novel The Rehearsal (2008) was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award and the Dylan Thomas Prize, and longlisted for the Orange Prize. It has since been published in 17 territories and 12 languages. Her latest novel The Luminaries was published on 5 September 2013.

For further information, please contact Colin Midson at Granta Tel: 0207 605 1373, email:


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