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John Banville
Wexford, 1945 Irish novelist

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Irish novelist John Banville was born in Wexford in Ireland in 1945. He was educated at a Christian Brothers' school and St Peter's College in Wexford. He worked for Aer Lingus in Dublin, an opportunity that enabled him to travel widely. He was literary editor of the Irish Times between 1988 and 1999. Long Lankin, a collection of short stories, was published in 1970. It was followed by Nightspawn (1971) and Birchwood (1973), both novels.

Banville's fictional portrait of the 15th-century Polish astronomer Dr Copernicus (1976) won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize (for fiction) and was the first in a series of books exploring the lives of eminent scientists and scientific ideas. The second novel in the series was about the 16th-century German astronomer Kepler (1981) and won the Guardian Fiction Prize. The Newton Letter: An Interlude (1982), is the story of an academic writing a book about the mathematician Sir
Isaac Newton. It was adapted as a film by Channel 4 Television. Mefisto (1986), explores the world of numbers in a reworking of Dr Faustus.

The Book of Evidence (1989), which won the Guinness Peat Aviation Book Award and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize for Fiction, Ghosts (1993) and Athena (1995) form a loose trilogy of novels narrated by Freddie Montgomery, a convicted murderer. The central character of Banville's 1997 novel, The Untouchable, Victor Maskell, is based on the art historian and spy Anthony Blunt. Eclipse (2000), is narrated by Alexander Cleave, an actor who has withdrawn to the house where he spent his childhood. Shroud (2002), continues the tale begun in Eclipse and Prague Pictures: Portrait of a City (2003), is a personal evocation of the magical European city.

John Banville lives in Dublin. His latest book is The Sea (2005).


Long Lankin



Dr Copernicus
Historical novel based on the life of Nicholas Koppernigk, better known as Copernicus, whose ideas and writings shattered the medieval view of the universe.
Johannes Kepler, born in 1571 in south Germany, was one of the world's greatest mathematicians and astronomers. The author of this book uses this history as a background to his novel, writing a work of historical fiction that is rooted in poverty, squalor and the tyrannical power of emperors.
The Newton Letter: An Interlude
A historian, about to complete a book on Isaac Newton, rents a cottage in Ireland. His intention is to put the finishing touches to his manuscript. However, as the summer wears on, he becomes obsessed by his writing.
The central character is caught in a dilemma of the Yeatsian man who must choose between life and work, action and thought, experience and creation.
The Book of Evidence
The first in a trilogy with Ghosts and Athena. Freddie Montgomery is a gentleman first and a murderer second. He committed two crimes he stole a painting from a wealthy family friend and he killed a chambermaid who caught him in the act. Here he tells his story.
The second volume in the Freddie Montgomery trilogy. A group of strangers on a day-boat are washed up on an island the secluded home of an eminent historian and soon finds out that the grounding of their boat may not have been an accident after all.
The third volume in the Freddie Montgomery Trilogy, which began with The Book of Evidence and Ghosts. Morrow is at a loose end when, separately, two people beckon him upstairs in an empty Dublin house. One offers him work of a dubious kind, and the other offers him a kind of love.
The Ark

The Untouchable
Examines the lives of the Cambridge spies, and in particular Anthony Blunt. The story is told by Blunt, in the form of a journal which starts on the 'first day of the new life'. The author uses the 'secret life' as a way to explore the darker realms of the 20th century and its hidden minds.

Axel Vander, celebrated academic and man of culture, is spending his twilight years on the west coast of America, when, out of the blue, a letter arrives hinting at the secrets he has been hiding for fifty years.
Prague Pictures: Portrait of a City
From the series 'The Writer and the City'.
The Sea
–› Excerpt

The Grace family appeared 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.
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The Ledge
editor-in-chief: Stacey Knecht,
Thanks to: De digitale pioniers and
Het Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds
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Copyright: Pieter Steinz, Stacey Knecht
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