Thursday, 14 November 2013

Eleanor Catton wins Canadian Governor General's Literary Award 2013

Congratulations to Eleanor Catton on winning the Canadian Governor General's Literary Award for fiction.

In her acceptance speech for the prestigious prize, Catton said that a great deal had been written on the subject of immigrant fiction, but less on the subject of emigrant fiction.

"Stories that face outward rather than inward, stories that travel from a place, rather than to a place. But of course every immigrant is also an emigrant, just as every writer must balance writing into a literary tradition and writing out of one. The Luminaries is set in New Zealand, but borrows its style from the European novels of the nineteenth century, and its plot from American, Australian, British, and Canadian novels of the twentieth; it has been shaped and inspired, as I have been, by literature and literary traditions from around the world. To call the book a New Zealand novel feels as uncomfortable to me as to call it women’s fiction: a novel, after all, has no passport, and a reader does not need one. I believe that a healthy national literature is one with an open immigration policy, and I feel very moved to have received this great honour from the country of my birth."

The jury for the GGs had this to say about The Luminaries:
The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton is an entire narrative universe with its own mysterious cosmology. This exhilarating feat of literary design dazzles with masterful storytelling. Each character is a planet – complex and brilliantly revealed. Precise sensual prose illuminates greed, fear, jealousy, longing – all that it means to be human.”
– Jury citation,  Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction

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