Eleanor Catton carries on her leftist tirades

Eleanor Catton sounds like she is standing for public office, rather than dipping her well trained snout once again into the trough.

She has an opinion piece in the Sunday Star-Times and once again rants on about political things.

She will of course get mightly upset when she gets smacked around the ears for it, you see free speech is only for the left, everyone else has to shut up.

As is usual she thinks because she is a tenured liberal academic elite that what she says, no matter how wrong, is the gospel truth.

Imagine the  sudden dissolution of all sports stadiums, fitness centres and recreational facilities in New Zealand, rationalised by the argument that if kids want to learn about sport they can watch it on TV. Such a proposition is absurd.

But sitting on the couch, watching a game of rugby, bears as little relation to actually playing the game as clicking through websites does to reading a book – especially when that book has been requested, sourced, or chosen according to the individual interests of the child.

The notion that online content is ‘interactive’ in a way that reading books is not is absolutely backwards. Physicality is immensely important to children, as is the enormous sense of achievement that comes when you check out a book from the library, when you finish it, when you return it, when you find it on the shelf again.

A book has dimension. It is a doorway.

A screen is all surface. How many adults can sit at a computer terminal and read diligently and immersively, for hours? How many can then retain what they have read?

What a crock…has she not heard of a Kindle, or an iPad, or any other reader software and devices?

Is she so stupid to think that people sit at home in front of a great big screen to read?

Consumers have a choice these days and more and more they are choosing to have a device loaded with hundreds of ‘books’. The world has changed and luddites like Eleanor Catton want us to read the way they we should read. Liberty is dead at the hands of morons like her.

For someone whose is supposedly one of our intellectual betters she sure seems stupid. Like most teachers she probably prefers one way traffic when it comes to opinions…hers only and the rest of us can all shut up.

How many, indeed, wish that their own access to books in childhood had been restricted or reduced?

Anybody who says that the book is no longer a relevant technology has simply not read enough books to know any better. I am troubled and ashamed by the let-them-eat-cake attitude that this country increasingly bears towards its children.

Troubled and ashamed? Perhaps if she hadn’t troughed the thick end of of a hundred thousand dollars some kids might have got access to far better books than her long-winded, boring dross.

There is already a growing disparity between rich and poor, and the recent measures made by the National Library to cut their own costs will only have the effect of accelerating that disparity. Children in poor communities deserve the opportunity to learn and grow and be transformed.

They count on institutions like the National Library to protect those opportunities, whatever the cost.

How precisely is the National Library ever going to help some feral bred kid in South Auckland?

I don’t think she even knows precisely what the National Library does, and I bet she would be mortified to know that they keep an archive of prominent and well read blogs like this one.

These academics really take the cake…so pious, and yet so out of touch with reality.

How is it the governments fault that kid’s parents don’t value learning and don’t buy their kids books?

I hope she continues on her little political crusade…because then we can all have fun educating her in the ways of the world rather than the cloistered view of the world from her sheltered workshop that academia has become.


– Sunday Star-Times


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  • conwaycaptain

    Is she still paid by the taxpayer after making gazillions from her book???

    • sarahmw

      But has she made gazillions? Maybe that is the problem, the sales could be waning. I did read the book but it sure was a long haul. Can’t say I liked or disliked it but it was different.

  • conwaycaptain

    Lining herself up as a Green Party Candidate

    • metalnwood

      Yep, she is looking for the female co-leader role. Materia is tipped to get the male role.

  • greybeard

    Why is this woman getting so much airtime? why does she think her views need, or deserve to be heard?

    note to self, if the words eleanor catton are in the title do not read, you know it just makes you cross.

    • OneTrack

      Because the lefty MSM are giving her a platform to try and bash John Key?

  • RightofSingapore

    Green Party advocate Eleanor Catton sure seems to have a chip on her shoulder all of a sudden. Has she visited the mansion of convicted fraudster Kim Dotcom?

  • Bart67

    As a part of my job, I sometimes have to travel a great deal, and I find myself with very little storage space, yet a desire to read. My e-reader allows me to take dozens of books in a space normally reserved for one! They allow me to take old favourites to re-read, new books to enjoy, and allow a greater selection for my poor addled brain to take a few hours peace from a hectic and crowded work environment. The words are the same, and they way I process them takes my mind to the same locations. Having said that, there is a tangibility in actual books that I love, and a book will not go flat as you read the last few pages, but Ms Catton needs to understand that the advent of the e-book will not replace the traditional paper books, but will, if properly managed, enhance the reading experience for all of us!

    • Ilovelife

      Agree 100% with your post. My experience exactly. Love my paper books, love my eBook.

  • Eiselmann

    She’s in a dream world if she thinks kids include the National Library in their list of ‘fun things to do with the olds’,

  • Luis Cannon

    Rumour has it that her next penny dreadful is to be called “The spread of Islam by Green rodents”

    • Cadwallader

      With a preface from Salman Rushdie just to spice up the Islamos a trifle!

      • Luis Cannon

        One chapter has been plagiarized from the Kama Sutra. The female of the species puts both feet in her mouth while being raped by a mad Mullah. Hence the spread of the Green rodents.

  • 40something

    What!!!!!! If she was up to date with anything about Children’s literature in this country, which echoes trends worldwide she would know there is a massive swing back to real books. E books are an enhancement and accessory to that and vital for the publishing industry. This country has a proud tradition in this area – in fact we lead the world. Has she never heard of Alan Duff’s books in homes program or Storylines where authors and illustrators visit schools. Does she not know about the fantastic authors, illustrators, book organisations and indie publishers that work tirelessly in the is area. I should know, this is my job. There is such a network of amazing work in this country backed and supported by librarians and teachers at all levels. Damn it this ill informed tosh makes me furious. E books are a small part of literacy – children and adults have not abandoned the book and never will. Time she looked at shame real statistics. By the way – do a reading in any low decile school and the kids know the books – there is no poverty of education.

    • David Moore

      Well said. Quite where she has got these odd ideas is completely baffling. I read both books and E-books, ideally I’d like to get them in both formats every time. A well stocked bookshelf is great, a well stocked bookshelf that you can carry in you hip pocket is even greater.

    • la la land

      Yes she seems completely out of touch. All talk and no listen.

      • OneTrack

        A born Green Party politician then.

  • Sailor Sam

    But was it not the left wing Labour Party that wanted to introduce ipads into schools as part of their “failed” election strategy last year?
    Eleanor apparently suffers from STML (short term memory loss?).

  • CheesyEarWax

    “It is a doorway.”
    It is also a door stop. Physical books serves a purpose, but iPads and Kindles provide alternative ways to get people into reading. Catton should just shut-up and stick to writing.

  • Effluent

    She has become today’s rent-a-mouth du jour. Having to drop a pearl of wisdom every day, she hasn’t got the time to put much thought into each of them.

  • Grendel_from_the_dead

    Good lord, she writes one book and suddenly she has the answer to everything? she is pulling the fastest Morgan ascendancy in NZ (ie get good at one thing and decide to become an expert in everything based on nothing).

    • Kelvinmyhero

      Apologies Grendel, I should have read your post first before repeating it!

  • Entitleism has many forms and each form has it’s own set of symptoms, best to just ignore people who are infected with it..

    • OneTrack

      I wish I could. But she wants me to work harder and be taxed more, so more money can be given to her.

      • LOL, one thing that is constant across all forms of entitleism is that it doesn’t matter how much you give them, they always want more.

  • metalnwood

    Kindles are great way to carry lots of books.

    I bet she spends more time in front of a computer doing things that she does reading paper.

    As an author she doesn’t like electronic mediums yet electronic mediums are allowing many, many more authors to get their books published.

    She is a greenie. What wrong with not cutting down trees. If you do cut down trees surely you wouldnt used bleached paper in your books. What colours are the pages in her books? Surely not white.

    • David Moore

      But greenies are, above all else, the worlds ultra-conservatives. They want to throw the world back to the pre-industrial age when only the elite had access to books and education.

      • 40something

        I think it is worth noting that her parents did not let her watch television. I on the other hand watched everything – a steady diet of the Flintstones, Batman, Dukes of Hazard, Star Trek and the Wombles. I also read Milly Molly Mandy, Naughty Amelia Jane, Aesops’ Fables, Treasure Island and plenty of Dickens and listened avidly to my Grandma’s stories about old NZ. Working on the layout for my 8th picture book this morning. It is all about depth and breadth and curiosity for life.

      • OneTrack

        And, no doubt, she is one of those elites.

  • Richard

    ..” rationalised by the argument
    that if kids want to learn about sport they can watch it on TV. Such a
    proposition is absurd.”

    Eleanor, really?
    How many times do you think the All Blacks (players and management ) pour over footage of a game just played, or of an opposition team they are about to face?

    We use this thing we like to call technology because it adds another dimension to how we learn and take in information.

    The physical act of reading and remembering text is not altered at all by the medium we choose to do it by.

    As an aside, how many times has Cams team watched the footage of Jessie’s a girls name Ryders last fight?

    • OneTrack

      She’s a Green voter and thinks we should all live in 1840.

  • HSV325

    I’m seriously over this stupid mole. She should be grateful that she has been able to trough and learn when to keep her mouth shut and opinions to herself

  • Richard

    So we can assume that being the mighty purist that she is she still writes all of her books using a quill?

    • oldmanNZ

      I think they use fingers before the quill, like how we write on ipads with fingers?

  • Carl

    Would her book have been able to be downloaded onto one of these devices and if so how many did but would have never bought it in paper form?

    • Glenn

      I Purchased it online last year. Struggled to get past first few chapters. Yesterday’s advice TLDR came too late!

      • oldmanNZ

        I feel for you…. Like e watching a bad movie…. Money and time wasted

    • InnerCityDweller

      Available in the kindle store. Sorry, link won’t post.

  • la la land

    With digital learning the children are all on tablets in primary school. Tablets allow you to read a multitude of things including… books. Children still have a book sent home every night for homework and they still have access to the school and public libraries – which have, amongst other things…. books in them!
    She seems completely out of touch with the real world. Does she even have children?

  • Papillon

    Heather Du Plessis Allen has a good opinion piece re Catton and tall poppy syndrome. A quote, “It’s not that we don’t want Kiwis to achieve success, it’s that we don’t want them to change once they’ve achieved it. Or, as my colleague put it, they can be winners, but they shouldn’t be dicks”http://m.nzherald.co.nz/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=11394709

    Warning, just don’t read Paul Little’s piece, may cause the immediate bringing up of your breakfast.

    • la la land

      I enjoyed her column today too – actually she hit the nail on the head. It was a gentler comment than Sean Plunket’s but basically the same message.

    • OneTrack

      I gave up his hard left rubbish some time ago.

    • David Moore

      I think most Kiwi’s expect those who have won in life’s lottery,be it through luck, talent, or just plain hard work, to be a touch humble about the whole thing.

      • la la land

        yes gloating or big noting are very unattractive qualities

        • Cadwallader

          Although to quote Muhummad Ali:”It ain’t bragging if you can do it!” I suppose this requires two things….showing you can do it and bragging with humour and style?

    • Wallace Westland

      Paul Little’s pathetic little far Left rants are always like that. The man doesn’t have a clue how the real world works shut at home interviewing his keyboard and lamenting the loss of both Communism and his precious Labour.
      So I happily read his drivel just to see how much vitriol he has to spew out, as it makes me immensely happy imagining his tortured soul as he pummels the living daylights out of his keyboard in angry frustration. Poor little Paul.

      • Curious

        Having to live with the green goddess Wendyl Nissan may have something to do with it too.

        • Cadwallader

          All fish swim at the same level in the pond!

      • Papillon

        Thanks for that imagery, I now have happy images of a foot stamping Little to intice me into a sweet dreamy slumber.

        PS, what is with lefties called Little. Something Freudian in that.

    • Ilovelife

      Didn’t think Heather capable of such sage words.

    • Curious

      I take my hat off to Du Plessis Allen for that article. I think that Catton has strayed into dickish behaviour with this. On the upside we now know what she thinks of her fellow Kiwis.

  • Second time around

    At 835 pages the Luminaries is a bit big to take in a school bag along with a wholesome school lunch. Is it why the Greens want to give out free lunches?

  • Hard1

    From a slightly more eminent author….

    “Anyone who takes herself too seriously always runs the risk of looking ridiculous; anyone who can consistently laugh at herself does not.”

    Vaclav Havel

  • Wasapilot

    The thing that really annoys me about her recent statements, is that she portrays all her statements as facts, end of story, no room for discussion as her daddy pleaded for on the radio with sean plunket.

    There is no, “I believe” “In my opinion” kind of qualifiers, so all the dribble she spouts, I believe comes across as ” I am branier than you, so I am always correct, now listen”

    A trait of a rabid leftie.

  • Curly1952

    Stupid stupid woman. Sounds like my way or the highway because I know best. What a dope

  • oldmanNZ

    This Catton has no idea, i know people who had learn how to dance by watching saturday night fever…

    So, in the long senseless dribble she wrote, she wants more money for libraries and people to read actual paper books instead of digital form?
    People to do research using catalogue instead of google.

    when i was at University i carry my text books around weigh abouts 10kg. Now i would carry a tablet.

    Catton writes TLDR fiction, best ignored.

    • Je Suis Charlie – Respect!!

      Not to mention that those massively expensive and heavy paper blocks were out of date shortly after printing. How often were text books reprinted every year with updates to ensure new books were bought and the old ones consigned to a bin? The beauty of ebooks is an update is a click away and can all be stored in a tablet. Ever sat at home deciding what books not to take to class as you cant fit them all?

      She is a lefty protecting her capitalist interests and wrapping it in a veil of hypocracy, all the while protecting her access to the trough

      • oldmanNZ

        I still have my old text, too expensive just to throw away. No one wants them now, they can google the info. But still good read and fill up space on my book case.

      • Mags

        In my (somewhat limited) experience at present there seems to be not enough text books available on line. We were surprised when during our sons first year at uni that he still had to buy hard copies. Now in 4th year so maybe that has changed.

        • oldmanNZ

          not all books are available online due to copywrite and licensing issues. Like , I notice some books are available in the states but not in NZ.

      • pisces8284 .

        No one buys encyclopedias any more, kids use Google all the time (but they have to read what they searched for) I bet she writes her books on a computer with spell check. She is a hypocrite
        Edit sp

  • Nebman

    The only real question is how long before she announces she is standing to be on the Green Party list.

    It seems apparent she has started campaigning without the decency of declaring it while treating us as idiots.

    She’s picked a cause, nailed her colors to it, attracted sympathy and derision in equal amounts, will stay in the public trough long enough to keep the $$$$ coming in and announce in due course.

    Watch this space I reckon.

  • Dave

    Originally posted in GD Copied here as more fitting!

    So Elanor Cattor I’m calling BS on your little statements, and am calling on you to stand up tall and back up your weak words. You have grown up In am entitled academic household and were most likely raised on a diet of academia and socialism are good and business is bad. Well, the bad news is Eleanor, you now derive your substantial income from Commerce, damage your personal brand your commerce will suffer!

    That said, I’m calling you out, if dead tree books are the only way then lead by example! Tell your publishers you refuse to have any of your books available by electronic medium, no amazon, no kindle! Let’s see how serious you are? Can put your principles before your personal pocket, let’s see if you can forgo the massive sales opportunity and profit to match your principles, I’m doubting your shallow words Elanor.

  • GMAK

    I particullay like the part where she attacks people with other opinions by calling them stupid and not well read. It was written with such tact and subtlety that we stupid people might not even realise we have been insulted.

    • David Moore

      That’s a standard view for those on the left. The only reason someone doesn’t agree with them can only be two things, either because they are evil or stupid.

  • Kelvinmyhero

    She must be Gareth Morgan’s love child as she’s been afflicted with the same DNA profile of success in one particular field makes you a f—— expert in everything else.!

    • papagaya

      Well said! Gareth Morgan’s the worst. If he’s so concerned about the “dispossessed” and “oppressed,” he should open up his mansion on the beachfront at Mount Maunganui and let them all come and stay.

      • And bring their cats!

        • papagaya

          Yes! And lots of pitbulls as well.

  • kiwiinamerica

    Catton’s piece is factious, self serving, loaded with usual leftist slogans and substitutes rhetoric for facts – pretty much standard fare for the left. Of course the literati will treat every word as gold standard truth because of her Man Booker prize and the usual suspects amongst the elite chattering classes will nod sagely in agreement. Of course, like many on the left, she can dish out the criticism but has a thin skin and a jaw of glass when mainstream kiwis call her out on her elitist tripe and troughing predilections.

  • CheesyEarWax

    Meanwhile, Lydia is going for an LPGA win and become the youngest world no.1. No doubt Eleanor wouldn’t approve Lydia of watching too many golf games on TV instead of reading books.

  • Wasapilot

    Surely what medium people read from is far less important than them actually reading. Does it really matter if they read from a digital device or a paper book or a stone tablet?

    This women is really starting to annoy me, and it disappoints me that I can’t ignore her!

  • KGB

    As an avid reader I understand the satisfaction or ‘romance’ of a book. Turning the page and smelling the print is part of the enjoyment for me. However, it’s expensive and impracticable today. I buy and keep ‘special books’ but mostly use a kindle now. Catton is a fool.

  • FredFrog

    Where on earth does she get the idea that the writing of a book makes her intellectually superior?

    Her every utterance shows that she is actually incredibly thick.

    • Cadwallader

      It is as applicable as a Rugby League player predicting future discoveries in quantum physics.

    • Bobb

      No, she is not incredibly thick, she is quite intelligent. She just doesn’t have any awareness of how her opinions are received outside the narrow confines of her upbringing in an academic environment. Growing up amongst academics she would have been praised for her input regardless of it’s relevance or veracity. Hence, when her comments and opinions are exposed to the scrutiny of a large eclectic audience and she is challenged and criticized she melts down. I think she has had a mental breakdown myself.

    • David Moore

      I doubt very much she is thick. I suspect, however, she is ignorant.

  • MrHippo

    Hmmm. Isn’t leftie Len cutting library hours here in Auckland?

    • David Moore

      No, it’s the neo-liberal John Key government refusing him all the treasure he needs to build the rail loop that is making him cut library hours…….it’s not Len, because he’s a progressive don’t you know…..

  • Sally

    My take on this Catton rant.
    Judging by her father calling out Sean Plunket that this is a family socialist view of NZ. Possibly a family discussion over the holidays has triggered this off. Eleanor Catton has taken up the mantle to push these views. She choose to do it outside of NZ because she can get a wider audience and doesn’t have to front up to the media here in NZ

  • Wallace Westland

    That’s just the stupidest piece of self centred rambling inane drivel I’ve seen for a long time. This appears to be nothing more than her second stage of a call for more funding for authors.
    Seriously I have never ever seen it said that “Online content is ‘interactive’ in a way reading books is not”
    What’s she on about? Who said that? Why would anyone say that and why would anyone care?
    First off where does she get the idea that kids don’t read books? My kids love books and have plenty.

    They also love their devices and spend plenty of time on them. As far as I know they never use them to read a story, more to play a game or chat to friend, do a bit of homework research (I hope).

    This women is obviously some kind of luddite and clearly a protégé of Jeanette Fitzsimons. The greatest luddite NZ has produced so far.

    Best Eleanor crawls back into her dusty little alcove and gets to work figuring out how the NZ taxpayer is going to continue to fund her after she has happily kicked them in the guts to foreign media.

    Because Eleanor, I for one am no longer happy to fund your existence!

    • Cadwallader

      Your first sentence is better and more to the point than anything Dear Eleanor has written.

      • Wallace Westland

        Excellent. With that in mind I’m off to insert snout in the trough and get some arts funding. I’ve never had a free trip around the world.
        Be Back Soon :-)

        • OneTrack

          Don’t forget to keep a record of where you have been so we get an idea of how many tons of CO2 you have added to the atmosphere with your jet-setting.
          You would think one of her lefty mates would of mentioned the global warming thing to her and the need to set an example? Oh, yes, it’s ok when the left does it.
          AGW is so last year anyway. This year it’s evil neolibs not funding the intelligentsia in the style they have become accustomed. Chardonnay is so expensive these days. Maybe the government should subsidise it?

          • Wallace Westland

            Doesn’t matter. I’m not allowed to go. Apparently I’m required to stay in NZ as a wage slave and keep paying taxes so the lazy the indigent and the artists can continue to bleed me dry while giving nothing back in return.
            Such is life!

          • kaykaybee

            Oh dear Wallace don’t you know our society would be the less but for self-ascribed intellectuals as Ms Catton. We need people like her; apparently her opinion is so important there’s no right of reply and she is outraged the conversation she introduces is to be one way only. Backwards thinking, inward looking, rugby loving knuckle grazer types like the rest simply aren’t capable of forming what she considers a valid argument and anyway anyone who don’t agree with her nasty put down of our backwater are as good as brainwashed by that greedy Key” and his nasty neoliberal Govt.

          • Wallace Westland

            I do so love it when people get my description right. :-)

        • Kevin

          If you decide to write a book be sure to include a Maori or two and make the theme about the evil of colonisation or something like that. And if you can include a misunderstood minority (a Muslim man and his wife would be good) and put them in a positive light that would be great.

  • Yeahright

    I agree that reading a physical book for kids is a lot better, it will teach them to read and understand better, but to blame the goverment for this is just looney, another leftie blaming the goverment where the buck should stop with their parents! They just have to blame someone else instead of looking in and realising it’s their fault and they should change….but of course it has to be JK that is at fault…!

    • KGB

      I see no problem with kids only reading from tablets. If it encourages 1 child to read because of their new ‘cool’ tablet…great. Reading is reading.

      • Sally

        My youngest son was never a great reader as a child but now in his 20’s he has bought himself a kindle and is reading heaps.

        • KGB

          My eldest son is dyslexic and struggled at school. He loved cowboy comics, so I bought him comics every week. I think the pictures helped him unscramble the words. Now 40 he’s became a confident reader, but still struggles with writing it down himself.

          • pisces8284 .

            My Aspie grandson doesn’t like reading books, but he loved reading TinTin comics. It’s still reading

          • exactchange

            My boy didn’t read till he was 9. Not interested. Though was read to a lot. We allowed him to take his time, easier as he was at an alternative school. He has since graduated from uni and runs his own successful business.

      • Yeahright

        True, any additional reading is a bonus, kids don’t know what they are missing out on by reading a good story. A physical book that they love can be treated as a treasured possession and respected, I have many, it’s a bit harder with a e-reader.

  • AJH75

    The new electronic medium is awesome, it allows any joe blogs who thinks they have a novel in them to give it a crack, and a fair number have succeeded. All of the authors I read are generally unknowns who were doing a normal job, wrote a book after work. The book went gangbusters on Kindle, and now they write full time. I guess the thing that grates her is that these people write books that normal people enjoy to read, and then they can make a living from it without the need to put their snout in the public trough.

  • WhaleBoyNZ

    Gosh, she really has “lost the plot” (excuse the pun). And why is she always so long winded? Isn’t communication more effective when it is to the point? Is she trying to show how clever she is by using “big peoples” words? I love physical books perhaps because I am older (40) but surely she should be celebrating technology as it gives all people greater and easier access to literature than ever before. Also as a spokesperson for the Green Taliban I thought she would be concerned about the environmental impact of producing a book that is avoided by reading electronically? Oh that’s right – the environment is only relevant when it supports the lefts cause. Hypocrite! Perhaps she is more concerned with her own physical book sales and bagging the Government.

  • Tony

    Silly little girl. When is she going to withdraw her book from the available Kindle titles?

  • Yellow Admiral

    Outside of her undoubted talent as an author, Catton is not dissimilar to all those media (and other) experts who – with no relevant qualification or experience – consider themselves more capable than those who daily have to deal with the issues facing the country (and be accountable for their actions). I put her in the same category as the likes of Vance. What gives these people the belief that they and their like know better what the country needs, when they have not got the responsibilities that leadership brings. (See Vance’s opinionated bit in the SST today.)
    How do we let those who have never had to take hard decisions about the safety and welfare of the country hold such (in their minds) important views about what is right or wrong.
    One of the most fearsome influences today is the power of social media to give free reign to instantaneous self-opinionated rubbish. Everybody is now an expert on everything, regardless of their qualifications or experience.

    • Bobb

      They are a bit like an armchair selector of the All Blacks. Their team never has to play so there are no consequences.

    • OneTrack

      “undoubted talent as an author”

      Has anybody actually finished her book and said they like it? All I have seen is reports of people giving up after the first three chapters.

      • The Whinging Pom

        My wife is a member of a female-dominated book club (one solitary male goes along). And the women who belong are predominantly of the greenie/leftie/middle-class-intellectual-elite type.

        Their book for January was Ms Catton’s award winning masterpiece.

        So I found it very interesting to read from the conveanor, who is very left wing and very much a greenie, that hardly anyone had managed to get past chapter 3, and so the conversation at last week’s book club ignored the book altogether and was about more interesting things.

        I wonder if Ms Catton realises that a few very atypical people chose her book for a high-profile award, which guaranteed massive worldwide sales, but that the consumers of her product are taking a few mouthfuls and (metaphorically speaking) throwing the rest into the compost bin?

  • Genevieve

    Well, it looks like we are going to have to cancel the ‘Welcome Home Eleanor’ street parade ;)

  • Imogen B

    Dear Eleanor,
    Writing an award winning book does not make you an expert on anything.
    New Zealanders are deeply offended by your ungrateful attitude, and do not want to hear more of your misguided diatribe.
    While you have an inalienable right to think and say whatever you want, please be aware that you have neither mandate nor qualification to speak for anyone else.
    I would be very surprised if your publishers are not now imploring you to keep your comments to your immediate social sphere as a commercial imperative,mane I would be disappointed as a taxpayer if the organisation for whom you work part time is not reconsidering their position as you regard your job as an “intellectual gag”.
    You are in a hole, Eleanor. Please stop digging.

    • greybeard

      Very well said, wish I’d put it so well myself.

    • The Accountant

      An award winning FICTIONAL book.

      • oldmanNZ

        Judge by a panel of writers and literatures?
        Unlike some other awards judge by sales and readership.

    • I’m a multiple award winning blogger

      • Imogen B

        And like Eleanor, you should stick to what you’re good at in your public life. The rest is your business.

  • 40something

    Did anyone read Braunias yesterday? So funny! He nailed it.

  • Pete

    But it’s liberal luvvies like Catton who have over several decade lowered the standards required in both discipline and consequences at school for young people, ..it seems it’s all about their rights, not what they achieve! I can’t imagine it was a conservative who thought that allowing kids to take calculators into maths exams was a good or allowing text speak in English!

    I think she will have a few weeks of these leftist luvvy orations, then she’ll blow a gasket …and that will be all of our fault for being mean and nasty to such a precious little madam!

    • Wasapilot

      Allowing text speak in english is ridiculous I agree. Calculators in maths exams is not so bad I believe, when I was at school we used Eton Maths tables for logs, trig etc and slide rules. Calculators are the norm now I think, however should not be allowed until high school.

      I think her gasket started leaking after not winning the NZ Post book award grand prize, only the fiction category. I hope she just shuts her mouth now and fades into obscurity.

      • Wallace Westland

        I’m also wondering how much missing the additional $15,000 in prize money is fuelling her ill conceived spin out?

  • Ilovelife

    You may not believe this but I have actually seen “Je suis Eleanor” on Face book pages.

    • Wasapilot

      Anything is possible on social media, so quite believable.

    • OneTrack

      Je suis has turned into another meaningless left-wing meme. Yeah, Catton getting some feedback is exactly the same as 12 French people being murdered. Yeah, right.

      • wooted

        Just like the hashtags that saved all those kidnapped African girls

        • Dr Wang


    • Intrigued

      That people are using the meme ‘Juis Suis Eleanor’ in this debate, equating people verbally disagreeing with her rant as the same as what happened to the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists and others caught up in the murderous Islamic massacre in France is utterly offensive and insulting.

      I don’t see or hear anyone inciting people to murder her for her views.

  • Karma

    The longer Eleanor Catton drags this out, the more she appears to be avoiding doing any work on a new novel…unless of course she’s waiting for some more funding.

    • OneTrack

      They should tax me some more so they can give the money to her. Oh, right – that’s exactly what Labour and the Greens already want to do.

  • Mikev

    Dont give her oxygen – ignore her – she represents evryting that is wrong with the views of the left.

  • The Whinging Pom

    As someone who grew up in a small town in the UK which had a tiny library it would have been great if the council/government had been able to divert its resources away from shelves of books in a static location (normally many miles away in a city I couldn’t get to) to on-line resources that could be accessed from anywhere.

    Ms Catton, of course, is giving us the view of someone who grew up in a very privileged environment. No doubt, with academics for parents, she had shelves and shelves of books at home, and also access to big city and university libraries.

    She’s just another one of those chardonnay socialists who sees the world only through the rose tinted specs of their own sheltered and well endowed backgrounds.

    EDIT – grammar

    • SlightlyStrange

      Man that description matches all my overtly socialist friends. Well-off (often exceedingly so), from upper-class-ish backgrounds. Raising their kids well-off, but carefully ensuring they enrol them in schools like Steiner or Montessori to ensure they meet kids with different perspectives (although the one I met whose kid goes to Steiner, 99% of the kids class has parents who work at Weta. Hardly a school full of poorer kids, despite it being in a decile-4 neighbourhood).

    • pak

      Apparently television not permitted in her house when she was growing up, which might possibly explain why she seems so unfamiliar with such inventions as ipads and Kindle.

  • caochladh

    I wonder if we will see the Material Girl spurred on to new heights of ridiculousness to keep pace with this usurper who is cutting her lunch.

  • The Accountant

    Fictional rhetoric like her book on the gap between rich and poor, which has been proven to not have changed in New Zealand for some time.

  • Whitey

    She’ll continue all right. She strikes me as the type who can’t bear not to have the last word. As long as someone responds to her tirades, she’ll produce a counter-response. And the longer this goes on, the sillier she’ll get.

  • Dumrse

    One book does not a library make.

  • MaryLou

    One missing point here. In South Auckland and other poorer areas there are still quite a high number of homes without internet. It is very apparent in our business which is not related), and determining that fact is one of the first questions our staff have to ask.

    Whether or not those parents are willing to take the time to ensure their kids have regular access to a library is another matter, but that’s why, for a while yet, we need to ensure library books are available in schools.

    Reading is essential, one way or another, for young minds.

    • David Moore

      How many of those people have read The Luminaries?

      • MaryLou

        The article isn’t just about the Luminaries, it’s about resourcing public books. Whilst I agree the trend is definitely towards online, literacy is so important (both for adults and kids) that we need to have a really REALLY high percentage of people with access to streaming from home, before we start dramatically downgrading public and school offerings. The amount of people our small business deals with every single day tells me we aren’t there yet.

      • The more appropriate question is how many of them CAN read The Luminaries?

        • Monito

          Or would even want to?

      • Edward Bufe

        I know absolutely know of no one that has read her book from cover to cover. I heard one comment about it being less exiting than watching paint drying on the wall as one could then hang the paintings back on the wall to complete the decoration,

    • The Whinging Pom

      I think the ‘percentage shot’ these days is to focus on resources being available via the internet. There may be a few people who don’t have internet access at home, but that number will be far smaller than those who don’t have access to a decent library because of where they live and can get to easily.

      And if home internet access is an issue in a particular area it’d be far more productive to make screens available which can access a national on-line resource within local libraries.

    • 40something

      Having done author visits in many South Auckland school libraries – these are some of the best stocked and looked after anywhere with librarians obsessively dedicated to literacy in their respective schools. There is plenty of access and it does not necessarily matter if that is followed up at home – it helps obviously, but it is not essential to a love of books. Every staff room I see, bar none, has teachers brimming with enthusiasm for children’s books. What I would have done as a child to speak to a real author or illustrator – to know the inside workings of a creative mind. I really think Catton has no idea and it has nothing to do with the National Library – that is merely a national repository for what we produce. This country has a passion for books, I see it in every school. I am continually blown away by the amazing questions asked and of the research these often young children do before an author visit – all thanks to electronic media. Perhaps she ought to go and have a look for herself.

      • MaryLou

        That’s great to hear – long may it last! I think the National Library does send books to school and public libraries though, on request? Also on Mobile Libraries? Obviously very hard to ensure a copy of every book in every library. And I get that nowawdays most (all?) schools have internet, but I’d really like these books to remain in hard cover form for those that want for a few more years yet…

        • 40something

          You are right they do offer those services and in addition many schools having standing orders with companies such as Scholastic which means they get a new copy of everything produced by that publisher that year. Really nothing has changed that I am aware of. Schools have book budgets like always – they pick and choose what to buy. Publishing in New Zealand is tight these days but it is certainly improving for local authors. Rather than listen to her rant on I’d like to hear her encouraging people to buy books – I sense this latest rant will be counter productive to that end.

  • pak

    Catton is “angry” at the Government, “ashamed” of certain views here. She is one unhappy lady who should perhaps get her head out of the rarified air of academia and go and smell the roses or take a walk on the beach and enjoy what this country offers instead of bitterly railing against it.

  • Sir Cullen’s Sidekick

    I mentioned this before. Catton is setting the scene to become Green party list candidate in the next election along with Lawless and Robyn Malcolm. Catton could replace Tuatara as the co-leader once they sink to low 5%. At least she is much better looking than the fat one.

    • Effluent

      Yes, but judging by the amount of lemon sucking she’s doing now, she won’t be by the time the next election comes around. She’ll have a face like a tomcat’s sphincter.

      • Bobb

        A bit like Laila?

        • Effluent

          Yes, and she’s got a voice that sounds like nails on a blackboard, to go with it.

    • Steve

      With Lawless and Malcolm in the fold “Cattons Angels” could do wonders to the male vote turnout

  • Jdogg

    As a self funded artist, (And an avid book reader, with a lot of pride in our arts and cultural achievements) – I can’t figure out this woman’s angles.

    The only thing she’s doing is appearing completely political and looking intellectually “ugly”.
    It’s not ok to criticize her comments that criticize our country?
    To criticize the potential home-grown market (and possible future patrons) that would read the books seems self sabotaging, or ignorant.. or new fodder for a new book?

    I would agree with others, watch the new Green party candidate space.

  • phronesis

    The dear wee sheltered thing. Books are but a passing phenomenon. Oh for the days of the stone tablet and the cave wall. So much more durable and fireproof. Of course the rot set in (literally) when the chisel impaired started scratching on animal skins and it was pretty much all over once papyrus came along. Binding bits of dead tree together was a horrible idea invented by people who wanted to make a buck and don’t get me started on how the printing press put all the scribes out of work.

  • Brent

    Wonder if she will now move all promotion’s of her Book’s from the store’s and internet down to the Public Library’s

  • Rex

    Catton if NZ is such a bad place as it,must be as you keep knocking it and,the near 50 percent who voted for John Key. Just move somewhere else. You seem to like India so,they might have you. Make everyone,happy.

    • Disinfectant

      Do you really think she might want to be a Mother Theresa?
      Doubt it, she’s too selfish.

    • Andy

      Maybe back to Canada where she was born?

  • 40something

    Can I suggest this is the left wing once again calling a crisis when there isn’t one to be found. There is nobody calling for the electronic over the traditional, nobody calling an end to the school library. Invent a problem and then appoint yourself guardian of the solution – same nonsense, different day.

    • Logo

      Just like “Global Warming / Climate Change / Catastrophic weather events…..”
      Green nonsense and politics, but hey, it sure pays well!

  • Intrigued

    The irony in all of this is that many people have had The Luminaries on their list of “books to read”. I include myself in that group as the subject matter does interest me as does it’s setting.

    However all the negative reviews on her book that she is now getting as a consequence of her pecksniffian utterances in the press on other topics is unlikely to help her book sales.

    I for one have dropped it from the list of ‘must reads’ for the time being for two reasons: 1) in protest for her ungrateful attitude towards me and my fellow taxpayers who funded her various residencies and junkets and 2) because my time is precious and judging by all the reviews that have come out I’d be better off enriching my life reading something else.

  • Karma

    Having re-read the post above, good old Eleanor seemingly slags off those people who do their reading on electronic devices. Has Ms Catton forgotten that there are people out there who are visually impaired and need bigger font or have arthritic hands or other mobility type impairments that prevent them from holding books and turning the pages? People who are completely blind use audio books. Does that make them less of a book reading enthusiast?

    • Debs.nz

      Excellent points. My disabled Nana uses Books for the blind. Loves it.

  • spanishbride

    I read about kindles being valued in poor African schools. For the low cost of a Kindle compared to the cost of a library of books the school could have access to thousands of free Classic e-books as well as science, maths, and other subjects. Basically any book that is no longer under copyright is available now for free online from a number of websites with e-book libraries. Think about it. A class set of Kindles means that each student can read any book from a vast library as opposed to the cost of a class set of one novel.

    • Wheninrome

      I get mine from Auckland City library, easy as, free download, wishlist, I get emailed when a book is available to download if it is very popular, no late fees automatic return.

  • Karma

    Someone may have already posted this, but this advert keeps appearing on this page on my phone!

    • Steve

      Thats because your google history includes the prima donna’s epic magnum opus…….You’re stuck with it for a while unless you use a different device connected to a different ISP…..
      just watch what you google if you’re sharing the device with someone else who is also a whale oiler…you may just get rumbled

  • Disinfectant

    When is she due back in New Zealand, or will she ever come back?
    Would just love to see the media (whale oil) meet her as she arrived and ask her a few questions.

  • Ilovelife

    Any Whaleoilers feel they are living in a culture of “fear and hysteria?” No, me neither.

    • Wallace Westland

      Greens didn’t get in..so nope…all good here!

  • murrayirwin

    Actually it’s ‘sports stadia’. From there it’s all downhill.

  • oozzey

    No more free tax payers money for the wantabe next big household name. Inoticed the so called written piece in the SUNDAY STAR by miss Catton ,so that’s the second paper iwill not purchase. Untill I see some real investigation from these papers I will not be buying any more ,lets face it after the headlines on the front page whats really news worthy .CRAP WRITERS CRAP EDITORS CREATE CRAP PAPERS

  • Mighty1

    Her analogy with rugby is fatally flawed. In fact watching vs playing a rugby game IS exactly the same as reading a book vs becoming a writer. She has mixed her own point quite badly and embarrassing for an “acclaimed” writer! If one wishes to play rugby then playing is important, to be a writer one no doubt needs to do some writing and probably a bit of reading too, some online some not!

    • I.M Bach

      “acclaimed” writer; until her outburst I’d never heard of the woman but now I wish I hadn’t.

  • stephen2d

    Will someone please give this woman the NZ Post Book of the year award to make her stop, please?! Look what you’ve done! How dare they award someone else and cut such a tall poppy?

  • benniedawg

    It would be really helpful for Elanor to reflect if where she is at present is what she really wants for her life. We accept the fact that she was justly rewarded for her literary prowess but does she really think at her age she has all of the knowledge required to dictate how we should consume knowledge? Me thinks not and is fast painting herself into a corner where it will all end in tears. MSM are probably not helping her situation always looking to paint NZ inc in a poor light, especially if the current Govt can be implicated. While I wish her well I think she will be used, spat out and past history a month from now.

  • Neil

    She enjoys the tactile feeling of books. I enjoy lawn bowls. Why does she think everyone should enjoy actual books, as I dont expect everyone to enjoy lawn bowls. I think I am smarter than her.

  • Steve

    On Amazon the coalition of one, two and three star reviews now surpasses that of 5 stars……
    The reviews make interesting reading but this one nailed it for me;

    “……Sad little book; sadder still are all of the accolades. There is not a literary stereotype left unexplored – the thin hooker with the heart of gold; the crass, heartless madam; the ruthless, self-righteous predjudiced lawman; the young hero who sees the reality beyond “the oldest profession.” The literary devices are so plentiful they interfere with the suspension of disbelief in the story line, which starts with a group of men together in a bar, and then “recounts the history” for them using a third person narration. Most of all, the story is soul-less. Other than wanting to get that poor starved hooker something to eat, I could care less about these one dimensional characters in their muddy gold-slinging town. Far too clever by half. To all those in these reviews who talk about attaining the slog through the 800 pages as if to achieve literary Nirvana – PUL-EASE. This novel could be summarized in a tweet (if a long one)-#OldWestHookerGetsHerMan.
    This novel is about as “Finely Wrought” (Washington Post) as your average Bonanza episode. Here’s what I consider, as a reader, to be “finely wrought” – when I’ve completed the novel, I’ve learned something about life. I’ve cared deeply about a character, suffered and / or laughed with them, or both. I’ve been on an emotional journey and I’m somehow the wiser or touched to the heart by that journey. This collection of characters clearly outlined in some notebook, busy as bees in their meaningless literary contrivances with their flat pancake character development and their one dimensionality – just sad. Award winning? Not in my book…..”

    • Andy

      I also saw an Amazon review that stated that an entire book club of well read people had all given up this book before they could get to the end

  • Doctor Panda

    i use sprizlet… i can read 8 times faster than the average reader reads a book and still absorb and remember more than the average reader…
    this “writer” should never have won a prize… does she even read herself?
    an insult to readers and our country…
    and since when does the national library affect local council libraries?
    kids want to read its FREE at your local library… but of course local government providing free reading programs for kids is really the government preventing the kids from accessing books right?
    i really dont understand how the stupid idiot wrote a sentence let alone a book.


    She just makes a bigger arse of herself every time she opens her mouth. Still cant believe that she openly complained about not winning the top NZ book award.