The author of some two dozen novels under both his own name and an alliterative pseudonym, John Banville is best known for his book The Sea, which won the 2005 Man Booker Prize. His work has also been recognized with the Prince of Asturias Award for Literature, the Irish PEN Award for Outstanding Achievement in Irish Literature, and the Franz Kafka Prize, among numerous other honors.
He and host Ted Fox sat down to brunch last November during John’s time as a short-term visitor at Notre Dame’s Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies. Their conversation started with a reading from The Sea, and they then talked about everything from the writing process and what makes a hero to the bet John’s accountant placed on him when he was a longshot to win the Booker Prize.
Along the way, he just happened to share what he believes to be the greatest invention in the history of humankind.