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Staff Report

LONDON, 10 October 2005—John Banville was tonight named the winner of the £50,000 (about $89,000) 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. The judging panel of the Man Booker Prize honoured the writer because his winning novel, The Sea, is "a masterly study of grief, memory and love recollected." 

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

Julian Barnes, Sebastian Barry, Kazuo Ishiguro, Ali Smith and Zadie Smith were the five other authors shortlisted for the 2005 Man Booker Prize for Fiction, the UK’s best known literary award and the book industry's biggest event. Notably missing from the short list were Salman Rushdie, and Nobel laureate J.M. Coetzee.

Each of the six shortlisted authors, including the winner, receives £2,500 and a designer bound edition of their own book. 

The six works shortlisted for the award were:

The Sea by John Banville
Picador, £16.99

Led back to Ballyless by a dream, Max Morden is both escaping from a recent loss and confronting a distant trauma in the coastal town where he spent a holiday in his youth.



Arthur & George by Julian Barnes
Jonathan Cape, £17.99

Arthur and George grow up worlds apart in late nineteenth-century Britain: Arthur in shabby-genteel Edinburgh, George in the vicarage of a small Staffordshire village. Arthur becomes a doctor, and then a writer; George a solicitor in Birmingham. Arthur is to become one of the most famous men of his age, George remains in hardworking obscurity. But as the new century begins, they are brought together by a sequence of events that made sensational headlines at the time as ‘The Great Wyrley Outrages’.



A Long Long Way by Sebastian Barry
Faber & Faber, £12.99

Barely eighteen years old, Willie Dunne leaves Dublin in 1914 to fight for the Allied cause, largely unaware of the growing political and religious tensions festering back home.

A Long Long Way evokes the camaraderie of Willie’s regiment, the Royal Dublin Fusiliers, but also the cruelty and sadness of war, and the divided loyalties that tore at many Irish soldiers. .



Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
Faber & Faber, £16.99


Kathy, Ruth and Tommy were pupils at Hailsham – an idyllic establishment situated deep in the English countryside. The children were sheltered entirely from the outside world and brought up to believe they were special. But why were they really there?

Now thirty-one, Kathy looks back on the past and narrates the haunting story of how she and her two friends slowly came to confront the truth about their seemingly happy childhoods – and about their futures.


The Accidental by Ali Smith
Hamish Hamilton, £14.99

14 year old Astrid is spending the summer with her family in a substandard holiday home in a substandard town in Norfolk. , .

Magnus,  Astrid's older brother, has been pulled out of the upper-sixth early.  He used to be form-captain, sickeningly excited about things like calculus, and how plants grow.  Now he lies face down on the floor in his room like a beached whale.  What happened?  One month ago he and two friends took a picture of a lower-sixth girl’s head, fixed it onto another body, and sent it round everyone’s email, then she killed herself.

Dr Michael Smart lectures in English Literature at a London university.  Though spending the summer in Norfolk, he’s popping down to London, marking work, checking exam results etc, and secretly meeting his current special pupil, the alarmingly ambitious Philippa Knott.

Eve chose the Norfolk holiday home for its ‘elegant summerhouse with internet connection point’ where she can get on with researching and writing her next book.  

Amber just arrived one day.  Eve assumed she was Michael’s student, Michael thought she knew Eve.  Magnus thought she was an angel, sent to save him.  Astrid thought that if Amber were a cartoon character, she would have been a superheroine, but also that she is definitely insane.  And then Amber just didn’t leave…



On Beauty by Zadie Smith
Hamish Hamilton, £16.99

Professor Howard Belsey has done something stupid. And what is more it is the stupid something which men his age seem programmed by cliché to act out. Exiled in his own home by the hurt and anger of his wife, Kiki, and the disapproval of his three kids, Jerome, Zora and Levi, Howard is about to see his role in the family further undermined by the arrival in their East Coast college town of Wellington, Mass, of his nemesis, British academic Monty Kipps.

Between the families of Belsey and Kipps there is a gulf – political, ideological, social and artistic – and that is the way Howard would like to keep it. But male lust and female friendship are powerful things, and the children and wives of Belsey and Kipps seem drawn to each other in spite of paternal rancour.

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