Eleanor Catton wins the Man Booker prize for ‘The Luminaries’

Updated: Oct 16, 2013, 08:14 AM IST

Zee Media Bureau

Eleanor Catton, who hails from New Zealand, has won the prestigious 2013 Man Booker prize. She is the youngest writer to have won the coveted title for her novel

‘The Luminaries’ and is the second one from her country to win the prize after Keri Hulme for ‘The Bone People’ in the year 1985.

The 832-page long novel is based in the backdrop of New Zealand gold rush and has thus become the longest in the history of Man Booker to have bagged the honour.

Catton started penning the award-winning murder mystery when she was 25.

Now at 28, she also becomes an "end of an era" winner: the last recipient of a Booker prize which, for 45 years, has only allowed Commonwealth and Irish writers - next year, the Americans are coming, the Guardian reported.

There were an "extraordinary" 151 novelists submitted for the prize and "hers is the one head that remains standing, waving in the warm breeze of the judges` favour," Booker Prize Foundation said.

"In a year that has delivered thematic variety in both the longlist and the shortlist...that has highlighted writers from around the globe (Zimbabwe, Canada, New Zealand, Ireland, Anglo-America, England), the judges picked Catton`s audacious take on an old form, the Victorian "sensation novel".

"She has channelled Wilkie Collins and Herman Melville and come up with something quite new," the foundation said on its website.

The chair of judges Robert Macfarlane described the book as a "dazzling work, luminous, vast". It is, he said, "a book you sometimes feel lost in, fearing it to be `a big baggy monster`, but it turns out to be as tightly structured as an orrery".

"We read it three times and each time we dug into it the yields were extraordinary, its dividends astronomical." The Luminaries is, said Macfarlane, a novel with heart. "The characters are in New Zealand to make and to gain - the one thing that disrupts them is love."

(With IANS inputs)