WELLINGTON, Oct. 16 (Xinhua) -- New Zealand author Eleanor Catton's novel The Luminaries has won the Booker prize for English language literature.
Catton, 28, is only the second New Zealander, and the youngest author ever, to win the prestigious literary award.
She is also the youngest short-listed writer in the competition 's 45-year history.
The prize, announced at a ceremony in London, carries a cheque for 95,000 NZ dollars (78,000 U.S. dollars).
Accepting the award, Catton said the prize is all the more incredible because her book has been a publisher's nightmare from the very beginning.
"The shape and form of the book made certain kinds of editorial suggestions not only mathematically impossible, but even more egregious, astrologically impossible," she said.
The judges said her book, which beat five other contenders, is an exuberant and dazzling homage to Victorian sensation novels.
The Luminaries is a murder mystery set on the West Coast during the 1860s gold rush that relies on an astrological narrative.
It follows in the footsteps of Mr Pip by Lloyd Jones, which was short-listed in 2007, and The Bone People by Keri Hulme, which won in 1985.
New Zealand Prime minister John Key said on Wednesday that winning the Booker Prize is a hugely significant achievement on the world stage for a New Zealander.