William John Banville (born 8 December 1945), who writes as John Banville and sometimes as Benjamin Black, is an Irish novelist, adapter of dramas, and screenwriter. Recognised for his precise, cold, forensic prose style, Nabokovian inventiveness, and for the dark humour of his generally arch narrators, Banville is considered to be "one of the most imaginative literary novelists writing in the English language today." He has been described as "the heir to Proust, via Nabokov."Banville has received numerous awards in his career. His novel The Book of Evidence was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and won the Guinness Peat Aviation award in 1989. His fourteenth novel, The Sea, won the Booker Prize in 2005. In 2011, Banville was awarded the Franz Kafka Prize, while 2013 brought both the Irish PEN Award and the Austrian State Prize for European Literature. In 2014 he won the Prince of Asturias Award in Letters. He is considered a contender for the Nobel Prize in Literature. Banville's stated ambition is to give his prose "the kind of denseness and thickness that poetry has".He has published a number of crime novels as Benjamin Black, most featuring Quirke, an Irish pathologist based in Dublin.
He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2007. He was made a Cavaliere of the Ordine della Stella d'Italia in 2017.