"The shape and form of the book made certain kinds of editorial suggestions not only mathematically impossible, but even more egregious, astrologically impossible," a news agency quoted Catton as saying while accepting the award on Tuesday.

Catton, 28, has become the youngest winner of the prestigious award for her novel, 'The Luminaries'.

Catton is only the second New Zealander to win the award, the first being Keri Hulme with 'The Bone People' in 1985. 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 USD 78,000).

The judges said Catton's 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 of the US during the 1860s gold rush that relies on an astrological narrative.

It follows in the footsteps of 'Pip' by Lloyd Jones, which was short-listed in 2007, and Hulme's 'The Bone People'.

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.


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