Born: 8 December 1945
Birthplace: Wexford, Ireland
Best known as: The Irish novelist who won the Booker Prize for The Sea
John Banville is an Irish writer whose best-known novel is The Sea, the 2005 winner of the Man Booker Prize. Under the name Benjamin Black he also has written the noir crime novels Christine Falls (2006), The Silver Swan (2007) and The Lemur (2008). Banville was a journalist in the late 1960s and spent many years as an editor for the newspapers The Irish Press (1969-86) and The Irish Times (1986-99). Banville now writes literary criticism, radio programs and screenplays, and has published several well-received novels since 1971's Nightspawn. His dense, artfully-crafted prose and literary experimentation earned him a reputation as a writer's writer, but he didn't get widespread notice until winning the Booker Prize for his fourteenth novel, The Sea. After all those novels with unreliable male narrators musing about art and reality, Banville turned his talents to writing mystery novels under the name Benjamin Black and found both commercial and critical success. His other novels (as Banville) include a trio based on historical figures -- Doctor Copernicus (1976), Kepler (1980) and The Newton Letter (1982) -- and Ghosts (1993), The Book of Evidence (1989) and The Untouchable (1997).
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