Eleanor Catton Is Youngest Man Booker Winner

Man Booker Congratulations to Eleanor Catton, the youngest winner of the Man Booker prize. From The New York Times:

Eleanor Catton was awarded the Man Booker Prize on Tuesday for ‘The Luminaries,’ an epic, 848-page tale set in 19th-century New Zealand.

At 28, Ms. Catton is the youngest winner of the Booker. She was born in Canada and raised in Christchurch, New Zealand.

The Booker, Britain’s most prestigious literary prize, is awarded annually to a novelist from Britain, Ireland or a Commonwealth country. The winner receives £50,000, or about $80,000.

The prize was announced at a formal ceremony in the Guildhall in London and, in keeping with modern tradition, broadcast live in television.

Looking stunned after being named the winner, Ms. Catton thanked her publishers for striking the ‘elegant balance between making art and making money.’

The book was published by Granta in Britain and Little, Brown and Company in the United States.

The other nominees were ‘We Need New Names,’ by NoViolet Bulawayo, a debut novel about a 10-year-old girl who journeys from Zimbabwe to the United States; ‘Harvest,’ by Jim Crace, a dark, vividly drawn novel about the inhabitants of a small village; ‘A Tale for the Time Being,’ by Ruth Ozeki, about a discovered diary that links people in distant cities; ‘The Lowland,’ by Jhumpa Lahiri, about brothers living in post-colonial India; and ‘The Testament of Mary,’ by Colm Toibin, a slim, 81-page portrait of Mary, the mother of Jesus.

This year’s ceremony was especially momentous because it was the last year before the award is opened up to entries from the United States and beyond.

In September, the Booker Prize Foundation announced that in 2014, the prize would be open to all novels written in English and published in Britain, no matter the nationality of the author. That decision prompted hand-wringing from many in the literary world in Britain, who worried that the reconceived Booker would be limited in its potential to discover and anoint new and unknown authors.

Jonathan Taylor, chairman of the foundation, wrote at the time: ‘Paradoxically it has not been allowed full participation to all those writing literary fiction in English. It is rather as if the Chinese were excluded from the Olympic Games.’

Mr. Crace was the favorite this year, according to bookmakers in Britain. The winner is selected by the judging panel on the day of the ceremony.

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