Eleanor Catton: Biography

Eleanor Catton

24 sep 1985

Eleanor Catton is the 2013 Man Booker Prize-winning novelist of the Luminaries. She was born on 24th September, 1985 in London, Ontario, Canada. Catton’s father is from New Zealand, and at the time of her birth was studying towards his PhD at the University of Weser Ontario. Once he had completed his doctorate, the family moved back to Christchurch, New Zealand, where Catton spent most of her childhood. Catton went on to attend the University of Canterbury where she studied towards a degree in English. She then gained an MA in Creative Writing from the Victoria University of Wellington.

Eleanor Catton’s first novel was published in 2008. It was actually the piece of work which she submitted as her Master’s thesis. In the year of its publication, Catton was selected as fellow at the Iowa Writer’s Workshop. She was then selected to be the Ursula Bethell Writer in Residence at the University of Canterbury in 2011.

The Luminaries, Catton’s second novel, was published in 2013. It is more than 800 pages long and is the longest novel ever to have won the Man Booker Prize. She was just 28 years old when she was awarded the Man Booker, the youngest winner in the Prize’s history. Following this staggering achievement, the Victoria University of Wellington gave her an honorary doctorate and she was given a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her services to literature.

Eleanor Catton is married to the American author and poet Steven Toussaint. Together they live in Auckland, where Catton teaches at the Manukau Institute of Technology on the creative writing program.