October 15, 2005
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October 15-31, 2005 Edition




LONDON/10/11/2005—John Banville became lucky for the second time Monday night, October 10 when he was named winner of the £50,000 Man Booker Prize for Fiction with The Sea, published by Picador.

The Irish-born writer was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1989 for his novel, The Book of Evidence, but lost out to Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day. This year, however, the tables have turned with The Sea winning over Ishiguro’s shortlisted Never Let Me Go.

A former literary editor of The Irish Times, John Banville is an experienced author, seen as this year’s literary editors’ choice. He is the first Irish author to win in over a decade, since Roddy Doyle won with Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha in 1993. His winning book, The Sea, is a novel of loss, identity and remembrance. It is written in beautifully crafted prose and has led to Banville being heralded as ‘a master at the top of his game’ and ‘one of the great fictional stylists of our time’.

This is the second consecutive win for Picador who published last year’s winner, Alan Hollinghurst’s The Line of Beauty.

Chair of the judges, John Sutherland, made the announcement at the awards dinner at Guildhall, London, which was broadcast live on BBC TWO. Harvey McGrath, Chairman of Man Group plc, presented John Banville with a cheque for £50,000.

John Sutherland comments, “In an extraordinarily closely contested last round, in which the judges felt the level of the shortlisted novels was as high as it can ever have been, they have agreed to award the Man Booker Prize to John Banville’s The Sea, a masterly study of grief, memory and love recollected. The judges salute all the shortlisted novels.”

Over and above his prize of £50,000, John Banville is guaranteed a huge increase in sales and recognition worldwide. Each of the six shortlisted authors, including the winner, receives £2,500 and a designer-bound edition of their book.

The judging panel for the 2005 Man Booker Prize for Fiction is: John Sutherland (Chair); Lindsay Duguid, fiction editor of the Times Literary Supplement; Rick Gekoski, writer and antiquarian book dealer; Josephine Hart, novelist; and David Sexton, literary editor of The Evening Standard.

In The Sea, Max Morden, led back in time by a dream, is both escaping from a recent loss and confronting a distant trauma in the coastal town where he spent a holiday in his youth.

The Grace family appeared in that long-ago summer as if from another world. Drawn to the Grace twins, Chloe and Myles, Max soon found himself entangled in their lives which were as seductive as they were unsettling. What ensued haunts him for the rest of his years and shapes everything that is to follow.

John Banville was born in Wexford on 8th December 1945 and now lives in Dublin. His first book, Long Lankin, was published in 1970 and he went on to write a number of other successful novels, including The Book of Evidence which was shortlisted for the 1989 Booker Prize and won the 1998 Guinness Peat Aviation Award.

John Banville has received a literary award from the Lannan Foundation.

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This post was written by Doris

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