Happy Birthday, Eleanor Catton, born 24 September 1985
- Teaching is a great complement to writing. It’s very social and gets you out of your own head. It’s also very optimistic. It renews itself every year – it’s a renewable resource.
- I much prefer a plotted novel to a novel that is really conceptual.
- Writers of literary fiction would do well to read more books for children.
- When I was writing ‘The Luminaries,’ I read a lot of crime novels because I wanted to figure out which ones made me go, ‘Ah! I didn’t know that was coming!’
- I see disappointment as something small and aggregate rather than something unified or great. With a little effort, every failure can be turned into something good.
- I think that you have to keep the reader front and centre if you’re going to write something that people are going to love and be entertained by.
- What I like about fiction most is that it resists closure and exists, if the reader is willing to engage, as a possible encounter – an encounter that is like meeting a human being.
- I think that’s what fiction writing is actually all about. It’s about trying to solve problems in creative ways.
- I believe really strongly in imitation, actually: I think it’s the first place you need to go to if you’re going to be able to understand how something works. True mimicry is actually quite difficult.
- In principle, a workshop is such a beautiful idea – an environment in which writers who are collectively apprenticed to the craft of writing can come together in order to collectively improve.
- The illusion of depth in a character is created simply by withholding information from an audience. A character will seem complex and intriguing only if we don’t know the reasons why.
- Remember that anybody who is clever enough to set you free is clever enough to enslave you.
Eleanor Catton is a New Zealand author. Her second novel, The Luminaries, won the 2013 Man Booker Prize.
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