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New Zealander Eleanor Catton has won the Man Booker Prize. She is only the second New Zealander to win this prestigious prize, Keri Hulme won it in 1985 for The Bone People, and the youngest ever winner. Catton is 28, but was 27 when she completed her second novel, The Luminaries. At 832 pages, The Luminaries is the longest book to take out the prize.

Robert Macfarlane, chairman of the Man Booker Prize, described the book as “a dazzling work, luminous, vast.”

The Luminaries is set in 1866 as Walter Moody comes to make his fortune upon the New Zealand goldfields. On the night of his arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of twelve local men, who have met in secret to discuss a series of unsolved crimes. A wealthy man has vanished, a whore has tried to end her life, and an enormous fortune has been discovered in the home of a luckless drunk. Moody is soon drawn into the mystery: a network of fates and fortunes that is as complex and exquisitely patterned as the night sky.

Catton accepted the prize, which comes with $80,000, at a black-tie dinner in London's Guildhall.

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