Eleanor Catton Enabling Writers Time to Read
Booker-winning author of The Luminaries, Eleanor Catton, 28, has announced she will use her New Zealand Post best fiction prize money to establish a grant that will give writers “time to read”.
Catton’s The Luminaries, set during New Zealand’s 19th-century gold rush, took the Booker last year. It has now won the author the New Zealand Post best fiction and people’s choice awards, and Catton has said she will use her winnings of $15,000 to help other writers.
Speaking at the awards ceremony, the author said that she is now in the “extraordinary position of being able to make a living from my writing alone, something I never dreamed was possible”, and so it “seems only right to do as Emery Staines” – a character from The Luminaries – “would do, and start giving this fortune away”.
Her grant, she said, is intended to give its recipient “the means and opportunity not to write, but to read, and to share what they learn through their reading with their colleagues in the arts”.
The Luminaries has also made the shortlist for the 2014 International Dylan Thomas Prize, considered the world’s biggest literary prize for young writers.
Original article by Alison Flood, The Guardian, September 2, 2014.