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Weekly Roundup: Eleanor Catton's mantelpiece and Anne Enright's tattoo

Weekly Roundup: Eleanor Catton's mantelpiece and Anne Enright's tattoo

The gongs keep coming for Eleanor Catton. The Man Booker and Governor General's Award trophies are being joined by her latest gewgaw: she has just been named as New Zealand's “Woman of the Year 2013” (the “Man of the Year” was the America's Cup skipper Dean Barker). If you didn't think she could top this Catton has also been nominated for the Specsavers National Book Awards International Author of the Year category (announced on 11th December). At this rate she is soon going to need a considerably bigger mantelpiece.

Margaret Atwood (MB winner in 2000) has written a heartfelt tribute to the late Nobel prize-winner Doris Lessing. In it she praises Lessing for her example as both a writer and a woman. It also includes this wonderful and evocative line … “If there were a Mount Rushmore of 20th-century authors, Doris Lessing would most certainly be carved upon it.”

Nadeem Aslam, one of the 2015 Man Booker International Prize judges, has just been shortlisted for the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature. The Blind Man's Garden joins five other novels, including Mohsin Hamid's (MB shortlisted in 2007) How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia, in contention for the $50,000 prize which will be announced at the DSC Jaipur Literature Festival on 18th January 2014.

Anne Enright, MB winner in 2007 with The Gathering, is considering a novel way of keeping herself at work on her next book (due to be published in 2015) – a tattoo reading “200 words a day”. “Writing is incredibly slow”, she says, “and the biggest challenge is mood management, not to despair over it.” The phrase is a reference to the number of words she aims to get down on the page daily and inking it on (she didn't say where) is her way of keeping her nose to the grindstone. Makes a change from a Maori pattern or “Mum” it has to be said.

John Banville, MB winner in 2005 with The Sea, is to be presented with a lifetime achievement award at the Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards later this month. The awards organiser said that: “Ireland’s international reputation in contemporary literary fiction owes perhaps more to John Banville than to any other writer and we are indebted to him for it.” Praise indeed. Banville will join such luminaries as Seamus Heaney and Edna O'Brien (MB judge in 1973) as a winner of the award.

Still in Ireland … Sebastian Barry's The Secret Scripture, Man Booker shortlisted in 2008, is being made into a film, scheduled for shooting next year. The actresses Jessica Chastain and Vanessa Redgrave will play the main character, Roseanne McNulty, as a young and old woman. The story is based on the diary McNulty keeps during her years of confinement in a mental hospital in Roscommon.