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John Banville

32nd annual Key West Literary Seminar

THE DARK SIDE
Chapter One: January 9–12, 2014
Final Chapter: January 16–19, 2014

John Banville is the critically acclaimed author of novels including The Sea, which was awarded England’s Man Booker Prize in 2005, and The Book of Evidence, which was shortlisted for the 1989 Booker. He is a prolific reviewer for leading literary publications throughout the English-speaking world, including the New York Review of Books, the New York Times, and Bookforum in America; the Guardian and the Observer in London; and in Ireland, Banville’s home country, the Irish Times, where he was Literary Editor from 1988 to 1999.

John Banville is also known to readers as Benjamin Black, the pen name under which he has written a series of thrillers featuring Quirke, a charismatic loner and the chief pathologist in the Dublin city morgue. These titles include A Death in Summer, Elegy for April, and Christine Falls, which succeeded in topping “best-of” lists in both literary and genre milieus for the year 2007. “You see, that’s the difference between you and me,” explains crime-writer ‘Black’ to literary darling ‘Banville’ in an ‘interview.’ “You devote pages to speculating on why this or that character did this or that action, without ever, of course, coming up with an answer or the shade of an answer. That’s your brand of phenomenology, if you’ll permit me one of the big words you’re always being berated for using. My way is by way of action. What my people do is what they are. You know that one of yours, The Book of Evidence? That title would have been better used by me. Your books think: mine look, look and report.”

Born in Wexford, Ireland, in 1945, and educated at Christian Brothers Schools and St. Peter’s College, Banville’s early career as a journalist began in 1969 at The Irish Press. His first book, Long Lankin, a collection of short stories and a novella, was published in 1970. He has contributed to numerous BBC radio programs, including a series of short monologues, collectively titled Stardust, on Copernicus, Kepler and Newton; and he has a number of television and film projects to his credit, including Albert Nobbs, whose script, based on the George Moore short story, he co-authored with Glenn Close. The first three Benjamin Black books are currently being filmed by BBC Drama, starring Gabriel Byrne and Michael Gambon. In addition to the Booker Prize, Banville’s numerous awards include the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, the Guardian Fiction Prize, and the Franz Kafka Prize.

Online Resources

John Banville’s website
benjaminblackbooks.com
John Banville confronts Benjamin Black
Which Banville Shall We Choose? – NY Review of Books
The Paris Review Interview

Selected Bibliography

—As Benjamin Black:
Vengeance (2012)
A Death in Summer (2011)
Elegy for April (2010)
The Silver Swan (2009)
Christine Falls (2008)

—As Banville:
Ancient Light (2012)
The Sea (2006)
The Book of Evidence (2001)

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