At 28, Catton is the youngest winner in the history of the prize and her novel, The Luminaries, is the longest novel to win. She also will be the last recipient of the prize under the previous guidelines. For 45 years, the Man Booker Prize has only allowed UK Commonwealth and Irish writers, however next year all other writers including Americans will be eligible.
The Luminaries is Catton’s second novel, which focuses on Walter Moody, a man who in the late 1800s comes across a group of local men in New Zealand who are discussing a series of unsolved crimes. Moody gets involved in the mystery of figuring out what’s going on in this community.
Catton began writing the novel when she was 25.
The chair of judges, Robert McFarlane commented on Catton’s win.
You read every sentence and you are astonished by its knowledge and its poise. In a way, the winner is a classic Victorian novel with murder, red herrings,
conspiracies and fallen women.
Catton, who is the second New Zealander to win the prize, received 50,000 pounds at a private dinner for the prize.