Eleanor Catton

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Eleanor (Ellie) Catton
Eleanor Catton.jpg
Eleanor Catton in 2012
Born (1985-09-24) 24 September 1985 (age 28)
London, Ontario, Canada
Occupation Novelist
Nationality New Zealand
Notable work(s) The Luminaries
Notable award(s) 2013 Man Booker Prize
from the BBC programme Woman's Hour, 9 September 2013.[1]

Eleanor Catton MNZM (born 24 September 1985) is a Canadian-born New Zealand author. Her second novel, The Luminaries, won the 2013 Man Booker Prize.

Early life[edit]

Catton was born in Canada where her New Zealand father was a graduate student completing his doctorate at the University of Western Ontario. She grew up in Christchurch after her family returned to New Zealand when she was six years old, although she spent a year living in Leeds where she attended Lawnswood School. She referred to this experience as "amazing, but a real eye opener" due to the toughness of the environment.[2][3] She attended Burnside High School, studied English at the University of Canterbury, and completed a Master's degree in Creative Writing at The Institute of Modern Letters, Victoria University of Wellington.[citation needed]

In 2008, Catton was awarded a fellowship to the Iowa Writers' Workshop.[4] She was described in 2009 as "this year's golden girl of fiction".[5]


In 2011, she was the Ursula Bethell Writer in Residence at the University of Canterbury.[6]

Catton's 2008 debut novel, The Rehearsal, was written as her Master's thesis[7] and deals with reactions to an affair between a male teacher and a girl at his secondary school.

Catton's second novel, The Luminaries, was published in 2013. The novel is set on the goldfields of New Zealand in 1866. It was shortlisted for and subsequently won the 2013 Man Booker Prize making Catton, at the age of 28, the youngest author ever to win the Booker.[8][9] She was previously, at the age of 27, the youngest author ever to be shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.[8]

At 832 pages, The Luminaries is the longest work to win the prize in its 45-year history.[9] The chair of the judges, Robert Macfarlane commented "It's a dazzling work. It's a luminous work. It is vast without being sprawling." Catton was presented with the prize by the Duchess of Cornwall on 15 October 2013 at Guildhall.[9]

In November 2013 Catton was awarded the Canadian Governor General's Literary Award for fiction for The Luminaries.[10]

In December 2013 Catton was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit.[11]

In January 2014 it was announced that Catton would be awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Literature in May at Victoria University of Wellington,[12] where she has studied.

Personal life[edit]

Catton lives in Auckland with her partner, American expatriate author and poet Steven Toussaint, and teaches creative writing at the Manukau Institute of Technology.[13]

Catton was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to literature on 18 March 2014.[14]

Awards and honours[edit]



Other published works[edit]

  • Short stories published in Best New Zealand Fiction Vol. 5 (2008), Penguin Book of Contemporary New Zealand Short Stories (August 2009), and Granta (106, Summer 2009).


  1. ^ "Eleanor Catton". Woman's Hour. 9 September 2013. BBC Radio 4. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b039pdsy. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  2. ^ Tivnan, Tom (15 October 2013). "Eleanor Catton Interview". The Bookseller. Retrieved 17 October 2013. 
  3. ^ Cochrane, Kira (7 September 2013). "Eleanor Catton: 'I'm strongly influenced by box-set TV drama. At last the novel has found its screen equivalent'". The Guardian. Guardian News and Media. Retrieved 19 September 2013. 
  4. ^ McEvoy, Mark (14 September 2013). "Interview: Eleanor Catton". Brisbane Times. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 19 September 2013. 
  5. ^ McKay, Carla (21 July 2009). "Eleanor Catton: The Rehearsal". Daily Mail. DMG Media. Retrieved 19 September 2013. 
  6. ^ "Ursula Bethell Residency in Creative Writing". Retrieved 16 October 2013. 
  7. ^ Clarkson, Annie (4 August 2009). "‘I am still astonished and a little bit suspicious that The Rehearsal has even been published’ – An Interview with Eleanor Catton | Bookmunch". Bookmunch. Retrieved 19 September 2013. 
  8. ^ a b Morris, Linda (11 September 2013). "Eleanor Catton youngest author ever shortlisted for Booker". The Age. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 19 September 2013. 
  9. ^ a b c Masters, Tim (15 October 2013). "Man Booker Prize: Eleanor Catton becomes youngest winner with The Luminaries". BBC News. Retrieved 15 October 2013. 
  10. ^ Eleanor Catton honoured with Canadian literary award. 3 News NZ. 15 November 2013.
  11. ^ [1]3 News NZ. 31 December 2013.
  12. ^ "Victoria University to confer honorary doctorate on Eleanor Catton". Victoria University of Wellington. 28 January 2014. Retrieved 28 January 2014. 
  13. ^ "Eleanor Catton's success is written in the stars". The Herald. Newsquest. 7 September 2013. Retrieved 19 September 2013. 
  14. ^ "How Catton's life changed after Man Booker win". Stuff.co.nz. 18 March 2014. 
  15. ^ Adam Award Winners
  16. ^ a b c "Contributor information from Granta magazine". 
  17. ^ Betty Trask Award Winners
  18. ^ NZ Society of Authors Awards
  19. ^ "Guardian first book award". The Guardian. Guardian News and Media. 28 November 2009. Retrieved 19 September 2013. 
  20. ^ "Eleanor Catton on Orange Prize long list". Stuff.co.nz. NZPA. 17 March 2010. Retrieved 29 September 2011. 
  21. ^ [2] Amazon.ca: First Novel Award Books, April 2011
  22. ^ "Eleanor Catton wins Governor General’s Literary Award for The Luminaries". Toronto Star, November 13, 2013.
  23. ^ "Walter Scott Prize Shortlist 2014". Walter Scott Prize. 4 April 2014. Retrieved May 27, 2014. 

External links[edit]



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