Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Victoria University to confer honorary doctorate on Eleanor Catton
Award-winning author of The Luminaries Eleanor Catton, is to receive the honorary degree of Doctor of Literature at Victoria University of Wellington’s May graduation.
“We are extremely proud to count Eleanor among our illustrious alumni, and look forward to formally acknowledging her achievements with an honorary doctorate,” says Victoria University Vice-Chancellor Professor Pat Walsh.
Professor Walsh says Ms Catton’s remarkable success so early on in her writing career is clear evidence of her outstanding talent.
“As the youngest ever author to win the 2013 Man Booker Prize for The Luminaries—only her second novel—Eleanor has been catapulted to the forefront of New Zealand literature, and can claim a significant place internationally among authors writing in English,” he says.
Ms Catton has a Master of Arts in Creative Writing from Victoria University, conferred with Distinction in 2008 and a Bachelor of Arts, conferred with First Class Honours in 2009.
Prior to beginning her Masters at Victoria, her flair for writing was acknowledged when she won the 2007 Sunday Star-Times short-story competition.
Ms Catton wrote her first novel The Rehearsal as her Master’s thesis at Victoria’s International Institute of Modern Letters, receiving Victoria’s annual Adam Foundation Prize in Creative Writing for the best portfolio submitted in the Master’s programme. Her novel was subsequently published, in 2008, by Victoria University Press and won the 2009 United Kingdom Society of Authors' Betty Trask Award, the 2009 New Zealand Society of Authors Hubert Church Best First Book Award for Fiction and the Amazon.ca First Novel Award. It was also shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award, the Prix Femina literature award, the abroad category of the Prix Médicis, the University of Wales Dylan Thomas Prize 2010, and longlisted for the Orange Prize 2010.
In 2008, Ms Catton was awarded a fellowship to the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, widely regarded as one of the world’s premier writing schools. Other accolades include being awarded the 2008 Louis Johnson New Writers’ Bursary, being named one of Amazon’s Rising Stars in 2009 and receiving the New Zealand Arts Foundation New Generation Award in 2010.
She was awarded the Ursula Bethell Residency at the University of Canterbury in 2011.
In 2013, as well as winning the prestigious Man Booker Prize for The Luminaries, Ms Catton was awarded the Canadian Governor General's Literary Award for fiction and was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit.
Ms Catton currently teaches creative writing at the Manukau Institute of Technology.
Warmest congratulations Eleanor, I always regard honorary doctorates as the ultimate accolade so well done; it is an accolade you richly deserve.