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The Luminaries fails to win local baking award due to tall poppy syndrome

Media commentators have described the award’s eventual winner as “inexplicable” and “disgraceful.”

Media commentators have described the award’s eventual winner as “inexplicable” and “disgraceful.”

When Eleanor Catton lamented this week that tall poppy syndrome was “alive and well” in New Zealand, and that her home country would rather “tear you down” than “celebrate your success”, many were sceptical about whether this truly applied to her.

But now, in a shock upset, a local baking competition in Greymouth has neglected to give its highest honour to Catton’s The Luminaries, and has instead awarded it to Mrs. Fischer’s home-made blackberry muffins.

Catton, who is travelling in India, said she was “immensely disappointed” by the result.

“I don’t want to get too involved in this debate, obviously,” she said. “But I do think it somewhat reinforces what I was saying the other day. It’s this idea that ‘Oh, you’ve won a big, international award, you won the Man Booker, you’ve already got something, so we’re not going to celebrate your success back home’.

“It’s quite harmful to us all, really.”

Media commentator and borderline-elderly hipster Russell Brown said that the award’s eventual winner could be explained by nothing other than “a ruthless desire to tear down Eleanor Catton and her success.”

“It’s tall poppy syndrome gone mad,” he said. “The excuse that ‘oh, well, this is a baking competition, after all’ is really just weak. We seem to have this attitude in New Zealand of ‘You won the Man Booker Prize, you said some nasty things about the Prime Minister, so now you can’t have any more awards; we’ll give them to bloody muffins instead.’ Christ. I’m livid.”

The baking awards, which have no official name, are a semi-annual event run out of the home of local Greymouth resident Lynn Norris.

“I just invite people from all around the local community to come and show off their home cooking,” said Norris. “I didn’t think we’d attract this much attention, honestly.”

The award – a sum total of $5 and a box of Roses chocolates – was officially awarded to Mrs. Fischer last night, in an elaborate ceremony that saw her visit Mrs. Norris’s home for afternoon tea.

“I really didn’t mean to upset anybody like this,” said Norris. “And now they’re all over the papers and the television box, calling us disgraceful.”

Norris said she’s willing to accept she may have “made a mistake,” and would be willing to negotiate directly with Eleanor Catton to strip Mrs. Fischer of the award, and give it to her instead.

“I mean, she did win the Man Booker Prize, and I know that’s judged by a very prestigious team of snobby wankers, so she probably deserves it.”

Catton is expected to accept Norris’s offer and apology.