Words matter. These are the best Eleanor Catton Quotes, and they’re great for sharing with your friends.
I think that, 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.
I am a New Zealander, but I don’t want to swallow New Zealand identity in one gulp.
What I feel is that true creation happens when you’re making something out of nothing – like it’s divine, you know. Creation is a completely divine concept.
I’ve had countless reviews sort that have made me cry. It’s funny, it doesn’t ever get better either; you can’t turn your ears off.
A trip to the picture framer’s, with a selection of prints, is the most joyous outing I can imagine. I’ve spent more money on framing than on anything else I own.
I grew up on the South Island of New Zealand, in a city chosen and beloved by my parents for its proximity to the mountains – Christchurch is two hours distant from the worn saddle of Arthur’s Pass, the mountain village that was and is my father’s spiritual touchstone, his chapel and cathedral in the wild.
I think it’s more optimistic about human nature to acknowledge that people are the products of their time but then to see that they have moments of grace and dignity that everybody has.
One of the things I really like about Victorian novels is the close anatomisation of character. People’s gestures and mannerisms and the quality of their thought is very closely identified and analysed.
In my experience, and that of a lot of other women writers, all of the questions coming at them from interviewers tend to be about how lucky they are to be where they are – about luck and identity and how the idea struck them.
I really wanted to write an adventure story, a murder-mystery that was set during the gold-rush years in New Zealand.
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.
I have always loved reading books for children and young adults, particularly when those books are mysteries.
Writing is exhilarating, but reading reviews is not. I’ve been really devastated by ‘good’ reviews because they misunderstand the project of the book. It can be strangely galvanising to get a ‘bad’ one.
Margaret Atwood was the author who took me out of children’s literature and guided me towards adult literature.
My father is an expatriate American; he fell in love with New Zealand in his youth and never went home.
I loved ‘Middlemarch,’ I think that’s one of my favourite books of all time, actually.
My second novel, ‘The Luminaries,’ is set in the New Zealand gold rushes of the 1860s, though it’s not really a historical novel in the conventional sense. So far, I’ve been describing it as ‘an astrological murder mystery.’
‘The Luminaries’ is such a different book to ‘The Rehearsal.’ There are only a couple of things that link the two books: there’s a certain preoccupation with looking at relationships from the outside, being shut out of human intimacy; and then there’s patterning.
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.
There are a lot of people of my generation in New Zealand literature, young writers on their first or second books, that I’m just really excited about. There seems to be a big gap between the generation above and us; it seems to be quite radically different in terms of form and approach.
I think the adverb is a much-maligned part of speech. It’s always accused of being oppressive, even tyrannical, when in fact it’s so supple and sly.
You can tell when a writer moves out of a place of struggle and into a place of comfort, and it’s always a bad thing.
I don’t see that my age has anything to do with what is between the covers of my book, any more than the fact that I am right-handed. It’s a fact of my biography, but it’s uninteresting.
What I wanted to create with ‘The Luminaries’ is a book that had structural patterns built in that didn’t matter, but if you cared about them, you could look into the book and see them.
I think that writers of literary fiction would do well to read more books for children.
It’s very brave going from a position of authority to one where you are an apprentice.
The ability of humans to read meaning into patterns is the most defining characteristic we have.
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 had never read Victorian novels before going overseas. I read a handful of authors, but I had not immersed myself in the literature of the 19th century.
In researching ‘The Luminaries,’ I did read quite a lot of 20th-century crime. My favourites out of that were James M. Cain, Dassiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler and Graham Greene and Patricia Highsmith.
My mum was a children’s librarian, so I spent a lot of time in the library. My reading life, because of my mum’s work, was evenly split between American, Canadian, Australian and British authors.
Astrology’s a moving system that depends on where you’re looking at it from on Earth. My horoscope here in London would be completely different to down in New Zealand.
Sometimes I’ll read something on Twitter, and I’ll just be in the darkest of moods for the rest of the day or the rest of the week sometimes.
I much prefer a plotted novel to a novel that is really conceptual.
I think that’s what fiction writing is actually all about. It’s about trying to solve problems in creative ways.
My sense of injustice about our family’s ‘weirdness’ in not owning a car was amplified by the fact that we did not own a television, either – my parents were unapologetic about this and told me very cheerfully that I would thank them for it when I was older, which was quite true.
The readership of Victorian novels, when they were published, was much less diverse. People were probably white, and had enough money to be literate. Very often, there are phrases in Italian, German and French that are left untranslated.
I’m a Libra. I’m happy to be an air sign, but I do think I have a little too much air in my chart as a whole – some more water would be useful, especially in my personal life, as an emotional counterweight to all that abstraction.
I went to a state school in Christchurch, New Zealand, and then straight on to the University of Canterbury. But I worked part-time all the way through high school: first with a paper round, then at a fast-food outlet, a video store and a hardware store.
An interesting thing about New Zealand, you know, literature is that it really didn’t begin in any real sense until the 20th century.
In improvising, you’ve got your scale; you’ve got the notes that are going to sound good with other notes, the intervals that are going to sound good. But you’ve also got all the chromatic possibilities, the possibilities of sounding dissident, of being unexpected.
It is less fun to talk about what I am feeling rather than what I am thinking. Saying ‘I feel awesome’ isn’t really interesting or enquiring.
I have written ever since I knew mechanically how to do it.
I often feel intellectually frustrated when I’m in a position where I’m not moving forward; when I’m not enquiring about something.
I can feel the public side of my life and the private side of my life sort of drifting away from one another.