Eleanor Catton was a New Zealand author best known for her award-winning novel The Luminaries, and for becoming the youngest-ever recipient of the Man Booker Prize when she won it in 2013. Catton was born on September 24, 1985 in Ontario, Canada. Her father was originally from New Zealand and moved his family back to his native country when Catton was six years old. Writing was her chief passion and she eventually pursued a Master's degree in Creative Writing at Victoria University of Wellington's Institute of Modern Letters. In pursuit of her degree, Catton wrote her thesis which eventually became her debut novel, The Rehearsal, published in 2008. The Rehearsal told the story of a scandalous affair between a male teacher and a female student at a secondary school. Catton's novel received positive reactions, but it paled in comparison to her next effort. Published in 2013, The Luminaries was Eleanor Catton's second novel. A mystery set in the 1866 goldfields of New Zealand, it was met with near universal acclaim around the world. In October 2013, The Luminaries was declared the winner of the year's Man Booker Prize for Fiction, a literary prize awarded to the best full-length novel by a citizen of the Commonwealth of Nations. At 832 pages, The Luminaries was the longest book to be honored; Catton, at the age of 28, was the youngest novelist ever to win the award.