“It is...about capitalism, greed, and the moral depths that people will sink to when the opportunity of accruing immense wealth is put before them”

Liz Bury, ‘Why you should read The Luminaries’, The Guardian


 

This month one of the most important literary awards in the world, the Man Booker Prize, was awarded to a New Zealander. Eleanor Catton became the youngest winner ever of the Booker Prize with her novel ‘The Luminaries’, set in New Zealand's goldfields in 1866.

While Catton now joins an illustrious list of previous winners such as Margaret Atwood, William Golding and Salman Rushdie, New Zealand is facing into another historic period of greed in the face of environmental destruction as a new frontier of extraction is opened up.

Deep-sea exploratory oil drilling activities will be carried out in New Zealand over the summer of 2013/2014. The Key Government is pushing ahead with plans to open up our oceans to risky deep sea oil drilling and what's more, the initial explorations in Taranaki and Canterbury are being conducted by Anadarko, a Texan company involved in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. Almost a century and a half after ‘The Luminaries’ is set and only months after Eleanor Catton’s fantastic win, the world’s focus is again turning to New Zealand and the destructive extractive industries here.

To illustrate just what the results of a deep sea blowout might be, we’re launching an interactive oil spill map and scientific report showing the very real dangers we are all facing from risky exploratory drilling. Check it out and see for yourself why risky deep sea oil is, in terms of our environment, way of life and economy, clearly not worth the risk.

Eleanor Catton’s story which is set in the Otago gold rush is, as Liz Bury says, “a romance in the small, individual sense and in the broadest way, too, as beauty, hope and love battle to overcome greed and ugliness.” As ‘The Luminaries’ sells-out in New Zealand and around the world, it’s not too dramatic to say that  the stage is set this summer for a nationwide struggle “to overcome greed and ugliness”, with many of the things New Zealanders value most about this country potentially at stake.

Check out our interactive map and spread the word. Please share the link with anyone you know who cares about keeping New Zealand safe from risky, dirty, destructive fossil fuel exploration.

>> http://oilspillmap.org.nz

Notes:

http://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2013/oct/16/the-luminaries-eleanor-catton-man-booker-prize

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/oct/17/eleanor-catton-booker-new-zealand