Eleanor Catton, a 24-year-old Canadian-New Zealand writer, has been shortlisted for one of the most prestigious writing prizes in English literature.
Catton's debut novel The Rehearsal (reviewed here by the Globe and Mail) is up for the 2010 University of Wales Dylan Thomas Prize for Young Writers, a £30,000 ($48,000 Cdn.) award handed out annually to an English-language writer under 30.
Her novel about an affair between a high-school student and her teacher is "very much for the current generation and the role of performance culture in today's society has never been better explained," according to the prize's founder, Peter Stead. The Globe and Mail said Catton "writes beautifully. And differently."
Catton was born in Canada to New Zealand parents and raised in New Zealand. She first published The Rehearsal in 2007 before beginning her Masters at the famed Iowa Writers' Workshop. She currently lives in Toronto, according to a press release announcing her nomination.
The other short-listed writers are:
British poet Caroline Bird, 23; Watering Can (Carcanet)
American poet Elyse Fenton, 29; Clamor (Cleveland State University Poetry Center)
Scottish writer Emilie Mackie, 27; And This is True (Sceptre)
Indian-born Karan Mahajan, 26; Family Planning (Harper Perennial)
Somalian writer Nadifa Mohamed, 28; Black Mamba Boy (Harper Collins)