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John Banville's Biography

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To the surprise of many including himself, John Banville's The Sea won the 2005 Man Booker Prize.

Irish author John Banville was born in Wexford, Ireland in 1945.

Banville was shortlisted for the 2005 Man Booker Prize, having criticised, in the New York Review of Books, rival Ian McEwen's recent novel as 'a dismayingly bad book'.

It was not the first time Banville had been shortlisted for the Booker Prize having already achieved that accolade with The Book of Evidence (1989), which also won the Guinness Peat Aviation Book Prize.

He was educated at St Peter's College in Wexford and then went to work for the Irish airline Aer Lingus.

Banville worked for some time at the Irish Times and was the paper's literary editor between 1988 and 1999.

By that time John Banville had already several published short stories and novels to his name.

In 1970 the collection of short stories, Long Lankin had been published and Banville's first novel Nightspawn was published in 1971.

Many of his novels deal with the lives of great scientists, for example, Copernicus, Newton and Keppler.

Other work, often centering on men in crises, includes Ghosts (1993) and Athena (1995) which follow on from the aforementioned Book of Evidence.

Similarly Eclipse (2000), Shroud (2002), and Prague Pictures: Portrait of a City (2003) all relate to each other.

In 2020, John Banville published two books The Secret Guests and Snow, the former featuring his oft used pen name Benjamin Black.


John Banville's The Sea

Synopsis: Narrator, middle-aged art historian Max Morden revisits an Irish resort where, as a child, he encountered the Grace family, who mysteriously changed his life.

Banville's The Sea achieved high praise, the Daily Telegraph said that "with his fastidious wit, John Banville is the heir to Nabokov ... It has been said of the Irish by some English person that we gave them a language and they taught us how to use it. This was true of Wilde, Shaw, Joyce and Beckett and now Banville."

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