Eleanor Catton reprint heads to shops

Granta is to reprint 25,000 hardbacks of Eleanor Catton's Man Booker Prize-winning The Luminaries for the UK, with the new stock - rebranded with her win - in bookshops by Monday.

A spokesperson for the publisher said there were a lot of copies already out in the shops and "a good amount" in the warehouse to cover needs ahead of the reprint's arrival.

Eight thousand paperback editions are also being printed.

Booksellers have welcomed the win, announced at London's Guildhall last night (Tuesday 15th October). Nick Marshall, senior bookseller at Topping & Company in Bath, commented: "We're thrilled that it was Eleanor, we hosted an event to help the launch the book and she was here the day of the longlisting, so we feel like we've been with her from the start. It's one of the books people have been most interested in, alongside Harvest [by Jim Crace] and The Testament of Mary [by Colm Toibin]."

He added: "I think it definitely has the capacity to appeal to a broader audience. Given the attention the prize puts on the book, and Eleanor's age, it means people who would usually pass over a book that size will think again. Usually the longer the book is, the harder it is to sell. Whereas usually they might look for something that fits in their handbag, people will now be willing to make the investment."

Jon Howells at Waterstones said: "Historical fiction tends to do very well as a Booker winner, as Hilary Mantel and many others have proved. The Luminaries has had lots of support in the stores, lots of readers got advance copies and enjoyed it. It's also good that she has a small backlist, so we can get The Rehearsal in front of readers as well." He added: "It's also a great way to end the Commonwealth era of the Booker – with the longest ever book and the youngest ever winner."

Jasper Sutcliffe, head buyer at Foyles, said The Luminaries was "fantastic, a hugely ambitious second novel, everything that the Man Booker stands for", although he noted that the 800-page novel was "a big ask" for readers. "The win is great for Granta in a tumultuous time," he added. The publisher underwent a restructure earlier this year, which saw owner Sigrid Rausing take over full operational and executive control, and several staff members depart.

At the Granta Man Booker party held at Two Brydges, Covent Garden, last night, the book's editor Max Porter told The Bookseller: "If you give back to this novel [The Luminaries], it gives back to you. It has a fascinating structure and the job is on the reader to make connections. There's a lot of love for how people read."

Former Granta/Portobello executive publisher Philip Gwyn Jones, who left his role earlier this year, said of the win: "It was foretold in the stars. This woman is incredibly, exceptionally talented and we've known that since buying this book sight unseen with her first [The Rehearsal]. We knew in our bones that she would win the Booker one day, it was inevitable."

At the press conference following the ceremony, Catton was asked if she now aspired to be published by a bigger house. The author praised the family atmosphere at Granta, and said she feared she would become "just a cog in the machine" at a larger house.  In particular she said she'd welcomed Granta's approach to the size of her book, saying she'd felt not pressure to shorten it.

Catton also praised the recent rule changes announced for the prize, saying: "I think it's a really great thing that finally we've got a prize that is an English-language prize that doesn't make a distinction for writers who are writing from a particular country."

Aged 28, Catton is the youngest-ever winner of the Man Booker, now in its 45th year. Ben Okri, the previous youngest winner, was 32 when The Famished Road won the Booker in 1991. Catton's win also gives Granta its second major prize coup in a year, following A M Homes' win of the Women's Prize for Fiction in June.

The £50,000 Man Booker Prize—judged by Robert Macfarlane, Robert Douglas-Fairhurst, Natalie Haynes, Martha Kearney and Stuart Kelly—was presented by the Duchess of Cornwall at London's Guildhall. Chair of judges Robert Macfarlane said: "The Luminaries is a magnificent novel: awesome in its structural complexity; addictive in its story-telling and magical in its conjuring of a world of greed and gold."

The full shortlist was NoViolet Bulawayo's We Need New Names (Chatto); Eleanor Catton's The Luminaries (Granta); Jim Crace's Harvest (Picador); Jhumpa Lahiri's The Lowland (Bloomsbury); Ruth Ozeki's A Tale for the Time Being (Canongate); and Colm Toibin's The Testament of Mary (Viking).

Catton will take part in her first event as Man Booker Prize winner on 17th October at Apple's Regent Street branch.

The novel was published in the US on the day of its Man Booker triumph (Little, Brown).

The Bookseller profile: Eleanor Catton

We Love This Book review: The Luminaries

Bookseller blog: Passion publishing




Photo credit: Janie Airey