Book lovers will have a chance to see Eleanor Catton's specially bound copy of The Luminaries as part of Auckland Libraries' latest exhibition.

Catton's Man Booker Prize copy of the novel has been loaned to the Central City Library for its latest exhibition, For the Love of Books, which opens on Monday.

Every year, the six Man Booker shortlisted authors receive a copy of their books specially bound by Fellows of the Designer Bookbinders society in Britain. The bound books are presented to the authors on the night of the award ceremony.

Catton's special copy, presented to her when she won the prize last year, was bound by Rachel Ward-Sale in dark blue goatskin with squares of onlaid gilded leather.


Ms Ward-Sale said because missing gold and its influence on the characters formed the central plot of the book, she thought it was appropriate to use gold leaf as the main decoration on the binding.

"The 13 textured gold squares represent the protagonists, as well as the gold bars," she said.

"The coiled line of sprinkled gold connects the gold squares as the stolen gold links the characters. The doublures (board linings) and edges are stippled in blue, sprinkled with gold leaf, suggesting the night sky."

Catton is the youngest person to win the Man Booker - she was 28.

The 832-page book is also the longest in the prize's history.

This was the first time the library had displayed a binding made for a prize-winning author, said Sir George Grey Special Collections manager Georgia Prince. "Book lovers will definitely be thrilled.

"We are privileged to have Eleanor's own copy on display and it's right at home among the other examples of inventive, imaginative and highly skilled work from our special collections." The exhibition showcased contemporary, handmade books, often called artists' books, Ms Prince said.

Books selected for the exhibition were from New Zealand and overseas and were printed and made by hand in very limited editions, often with unusual structures or three-dimensional elements, she said.


Ms Prince said although most books were from the 2000s, the oldest book in the exhibition was made by a Dutch artist in 1983.

The exhibition, at the Central City Library's Sir George Grey Special Collections exhibition room, will run until February 22 next year.