Eleanor Catton Wins Governor General for The Luminaries

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Booker-winner Eleanor Catton has won the 2013 Governor General Literary Award for Fiction for her daring novel The Luminaries, which is set in New Zealand during the gold rush.

The 28-year-old author was born in Canada, but left the country when she was six-years-old. She now lives in New Zealand and although her book is set there, says she is uncomfortable calling it a New Zealand novel as it was inspired by literature from around the globe.

“A novel has no passport and a reader does not need one…I believe that a healthy national literature is one with a open immigration policy, and I am very moved to receive this great honour from the country of my birth,” Catton said upon accepting the award.

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Other finalists for the fiction award were Kenneth Bonert for The Lion Seeker, Joseph Boyden for The Orenda, Colin McAdam for A Beautiful Truth, and Shyam Selvadurai for The Hungry Ghosts.

The Canada Council for the Arts announced all the 2013 Governor General Literary award winners at a news conference earlier today at the National Ballet School’s Betty Oliphant Theatre in Toronto.

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Other winners included Vancouver-based Sandra Djwa who won the English Non-Fiction prize for Journey With No Maps: A Life of P.K. Page, a biography of the Canadian poet; and Katherena Vermette, who won the English Poetry prize for her collection North End Love Songs.

The GGs, as they are often called, honour the best English-language and the best French-language books in each of seven categories: fiction, non-fiction, poetry, drama, children’s literature (text), children’s literature (illustration), and translation. For each category, a jury, comprised of fellow authors, translators and illustrators, makes the final selection.

Each GG winner receives $25,000 and a specially-bound copy of their winning book. Non-winning finalists each receive $1,000. The publisher of each winning book receives $3,000 to help promote the book.

For a list of all the winners, check here.