ELEANOR CATTON was born in 1985 in Canada and raised in New Zealand. Her debut novel The Rehearsal won the Adam Prize and was Best First Book of Fiction at the 2009 Montana New Zealand Book Awards. Internationally, it was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award and the Dylan Thomas Prize, and longlisted for the Orange Prize, and won the 2009 Betty Trask Award. It has been published in 17 territories and 12 languages.
Eleanor Catton holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she also held an adjunct professorship, and an MA in creative writing from the International Institute of Modern Letters at Victoria University of Wellington. She won the 2013 Man Booker Prize and the 2013 Canadian Governor General’s Award for fiction for her novel The Luminaries. She lives in Auckland.
‘The type of novel that you will devour only to discover that you can’t find anything of equal scope and excitement to read once you have finished ... Yes it’s big. Yes it’s clever. Do yourself a favour and read The Luminaries’ Independent on Sunday
‘The novel that should win the Man Booker. The Luminaries has a gripping plot that is cleverly unravelled to its satisfying conclusion, a narrative that from the first page asserts that it is firmly in control’ Telegraph
‘A breathtakingly ambitious mystery with a plot as complex and a cast as motley as any 19th-century doorstopper … As beautiful as it is triumphant’ Daily Mail
'Would it be too much to call it an anti-mystery novel? If The Luminaries were no more than this, it would be a remarkable literary achievement. But it is considerably more. By Catton’s choice of leading characters, by her exposure of their suspect motives, and by the mixing of ethnicities, the novel also gives a detailed picture of a raw, volatile, exploitative colonial society: a ‘frontier’ society still based on the myth of wide-open opportunity and the realities of extractive industries and fierce competition for capital.' Nicholas Reid, Landfall
Praise for The Rehearsal
This astonishing debut novel from young New Zealander Eleanor Catton is a cause for surprise and celebration: smart, playful and self-possessed, it has the glitter and mystery of the true literary original. Though its impulses and methods can only be called experimental, the prose is so arresting, the storytelling so seductive, that wherever the book falls open it's near-impossible to put down. Justine Jordan THE GUARDIAN
In common with more traditional school-age stories, dawning self-consciousness and disappearing innocence are key subjects. But it is the inventiveness with which Catton plays on these themes, not the themes themselves, that makes this book so engaging. It would be tempting to call it experimental, if that word didn’t suggest writing that is stodgy and self-indulgent. To the contrary, The Rehearsal is controlled, elegant and utterly readable, even at its most slippery. Adrian Turpin THE FINANCIAL TIMES
As debuts go, this one is astral – as well as teasing, intelligent and knowing. It made me think of ‘Bonjour Tristesse’ (1955) and of its author, Françoise Sagan, another young writer of stellar talent. Tom Adair THE SCOTSMAN
Timeframes overlap and collide in this ingenious ontological kaleidoscope of a debut, but the experimentalism — which demands that the reader keep all her wits about her — is tempered by a real knack for narrative and a cast of painfully familiar teenage characters who are all desperate to be as confident, cool, charismatic and funny as possible. These are qualities that the extraordinary Eleanor Catton has in spades. Melissa Katsoulis THE TIMES