John Banville

Literary Birthday – 8 December – John Banville

Happy Birthday, John Banville, born 8 December 1945.

Nine Quotes

  1. In order really to write one has to sink deep into the self and become lost there.
  2. We carry the dead with us only until we die too, and then it is we who are borne along for a little while, and then our bearers in their turn drop, and so on into the unimaginable generations.
  3. That’s one of the many things I hate about life, that it’s a hideously clichéd business.
  4. The past beats inside me like a second heart.
  5. Art is amoral, whether we accept this or not; it does not take sides. The finest fictions are cold at heart.
  6. Writing keeps me at my desk, constantly trying to write a perfect sentence. It is a great privilege to make one’s living from writing sentences. The sentence is the greatest invention of civilisation. To sit all day long assembling these extraordinary strings of words is a marvellous thing. I couldn’t ask for anything better. It’s as near to godliness as I can get….
  7. The novel is a kind of elephant. But I like to make that elephant dance on a quarter.
  8. Fictional characters are made of words, not flesh; they do not have free will, they do not exercise volition. They are easily born, and as easily killed off.
  9. The world is not real for me until it has been pushed through the mesh of language.

John Banville is an Irish novelist and screenwriter. His novels include The Sea and The Book of Evidence. He has received numerous awards, including the Booker Prize in 2005, the Franz Kafka Prize in 2011, and the Irish PEN Award and the Austrian State Prize for European Literature in 2013. Banville also writes under the pen name Benjamin Black.

Source for Image

Jindřich Nosek (NoJin), CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

 by Amanda Patterson

Please click here for our Literary Birthday Calendar

Posted on: 8th December 2014