Man Booker prize-winner Eleanor Catton has launched a stinging attack on one of New Zealand's foremost literary figures.
Catton delivered a terse 19-word broadside on Twitter against novelist and literary critic CK Stead after he wrote a letter to the New Zealand Herald about the sexual braggarts who called themselves Roast Busters.
Stead wrote the nation had become gripped by a collective hysteria and claimed it was now universally accepted that anything immoral or illegal between sexually active minors was the fault of the male and the female was the victim.
He called for an end to the "embarrassing delirium" and to change the subject.
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An outraged Catton tweeted: "Rape culture is: people who want to shut down conversations about rape. From a NZ writer, this is disgusting."
Last night Stead conceded: "I do understand what she is saying. I don't want to shut down conversations. She may be right."
He said he had returned to New Zealand after two months and he did not feel the Roast Busters deserved the level of attention.
Stead had earlier written a lukewarm review of Catton's historic novel The Luminaries in the Financial Times.