News / Arts & Entertainment

Catton Wins 2013 Man Booker Prize

New Zealand writer Eleanor Catton poses after being announced the winner of the Man Booker Prize for Fiction, holding her prize and her book for the photographers, in central London, Oct. 15, 2013.
New Zealand writer Eleanor Catton poses after being announced the winner of the Man Booker Prize for Fiction, holding her prize and her book for the photographers, in central London, Oct. 15, 2013.
Reuters
New Zealand author Eleanor Catton won the 2013 Man Booker prize for English fiction on Tuesday for her novel "The Luminaries", to become the youngest winner in the award's 45-year history.
 
The 28-year-old novelist poked fun at the size of her 848-page tome about the 19th century New Zealand gold rush and thanked British publishers Granta for their patience.
 
"I've actually just had to buy a new handbag because my old handbag wasn't big enough to fit my book," Catton told journalists at a hasty press conference.
 
Chair of judges Robert Macfarlane described Catton's second novel, set in the New Zealand goldfields of 1866, as dazzling and very clever.
 
"'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," he said.
 
Catton's story tells the tale of Walter Moody, who arrives in the goldfields to seek his fortune and immediately stumbles across a tense gathering of 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.
 
Catton said she was grateful to her publishers for allowing her the freedom to explore her theme without pressure to make an obviously commercial novel.
 
"I was free throughout to concern myself with questions not of value, but of worth," she said after accepting the award from Prince Charles's wife, Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, at a glittering dinner in London's ancient Guildhall.
 
Commonwealth
 
The other shortlisted authors for the prize were Canadian Ruth Ozeki for "A Tale for the Time Being", Indian-American Jhumpa Lahiri for "The Lowland", Zimbabwean NoViolet Bulawayo for "We Need New Names", Briton Jim Crace for "Harvest" and Irish writer Colm Toibin for "The Testament of Mary".
 
The win by a Commonwealth author and the second from New Zealand in the Man Booker's history is likely to set literary tongues wagging over the decision by the prestigious prize's organizers to change the rules for eligibility from 2014.
 
In September, the Man Booker said it will permit authors from all over the world to compete for a prize that had been previously exclusive to writers from the United Kingdom, Ireland and the Commonwealth.
 
The decision caused a ruckus in the publishing world. Some British authors fretted that the American publishing juggernaut will drown out the voices of lesser known Commonwealth novelists such as Catton, Bulawayo and Ozeki.
 
"Will a young woman published in New Zealand stand much of a chance again?" Crace said after the dinner.
 
However, Catton said she was glad that the changes removed the artificial restrictions of nationality from the prize, echoing assertions from Man Booker organizers that the award will become the world's biggest English-language fiction award.
 
"I think it's a really great thing that finally we've got a prize that is an English-language prize that doesn't make a distinction for writers who are writing from a particular country," she said.
 
On top of a 50,000 pound ($79,800) prize, Catton will enjoy the global recognition that usually precedes a catapult in book sales.
 
Her win follows 2012 winner Hilary Mantel, who won in 2009 for "Wolf Hall" and in 2012 for "Bring up the Bodies". Mantel's double win secured her the No. 1 spot in the official UK top 50 chart and sales of more than 1.5 million books.

You May Like

Lion Cecil's Killing Sparks 'Canned Hunting' Debate in S. Africa

Conservationists believe incident, which triggered worldwide outrage, will reshape debate about practice in which hunters are allowed to target animals bred for hunting More

Taliban's New Leader Says Jihad Will Continue

Top US Afghan diplomat also meets with Pakistani, Afghan officials following news of Mullah Omar's death More

Environmentalists Issue Warning on Mekong Biodiversity

Scientists say decades of economic development, hydropower-dam construction, lax law enforcement and trafficking have taken their toll More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missionsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
July 30, 2015 8:59 PM
Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.

VOA Blogs

New in Music Alley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harry Wayne Casey – “KC” of KC and the Sunshine Band – comes to VOA’s Studio 4 to talk with "Border Crossings" host Larry London and perform songs from his new album, “Feeling You! The 60s.”