Last year, Eleanor Catton set the literary world ablaze with her sprawling novel The Luminaries. At age 28, Catton had a bestseller on her hands and became the youngest ever winner of the Man Booker Prize. Now, she’s using the prize winnings from her latest award to start a grant to help other writers with what she believes is the first step to good writing—reading.
After winning the New Zealand Post best fiction and people’s choice awards, Catton has announced that her prize money will start a grant that will allow writers the “time to read.” Recipients would get a certain amount of money to sustain themselves for a three month period, at the end of which they’d be expected to write a short non-fiction piece about their reading experience. The idea, according to Catton, is that the grant will provide aspiring writers “the means and opportunity not to write, but to read, and to share what they learn through their reading with their colleagues in the arts.”
The Guardian reports that Catton made the announcement in her acceptance speech for the prize. “Writers are readers first; indeed our love of reading is what unites us above all else. If our reading culture in New Zealand is dynamic, diverse, and informed, our writing culture will be too.”
If the grant winners were planning on reading Catton’s own novel, however, they’d best start soon—at 832 pages, it’s the longest book to ever win the prestigious Man Booker.