Eleanor Catton

Recorded at Studio 1398 on Sunday, October 27, 2013.

Eleanor (Ellie) Catton’s novel The Luminaries, which won the man Booker Prize and the Governor-General’s Award for Fiction, combines a sophisticated and intricate structure, with a large cast of vivid characters and an engrossing mysterious story that pulls you effortlessly through its prodigious 832 pages. Set in town near the gold fields of New Zealand in the 1860’s, the novel revolves around the mysterious death of a hermit, the disappearance of the town’s most prosperous citizen and a prostitute found unconscious in the street, incidents that all take place on the same day. One of her aims with the book was to give New Zealand literature something it had been missing: an old-fashioned 19th century novel. It would be fair to say that everyone in attendance for this conversation with VWF Artistic Director Hal Wake, wished the conversation had continued for hours.

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Eleanor Catton was born in London, Ontario, and raised in Canterbury, New Zealand. The Rehearsal is her multi-award-winning debut novel. Her new novel is The Luminaries, a murder mystery set in goldrush-era New Zealand. Catton won a Glenn Schaeffer Fellowship to study at the prestigious Iowa Writers' Workshop, and recently made the short-list for the prestigious Man Booker Prize for Fiction—the youngest writer ever to do so. She currently lives in Auckland. @EleanorCatton