John Banville on the Art of Writing

Posted on: 03 December 2015

Humanities research and the creative process was the focus of a public interview featuring award-winning Irish novelist John Banville on Wednesday, December 2, 2015 in Trinity College Dublin.

On the occasion of the publication of his most recent novel The Blue Guitar, John Banville discussed the art of writing with Chris Morash, Seamus Heaney Professor of Irish Writing, in an event titled “Glancing encounters are no good”: Humanities research and the creative process.

Speaking after the event Prof Morash said: "John Banville writes the novels published under his own name in meticulous longhand notebooks.  Drawing on the Trinity Library's extensive collection of these literary manuscripts, the conversation ranged from a detailed discussion of the act of writing, to more philosophical speculations on the nature of art, the poetic novel, and the writer's task in relation to an inevitable awareness of death."  

"The discussion also took in the work of that 'rogue', as Banville calls him, his prolific alter ego, Benjamin Black, who writes on his crime novels directly on his computer. Writing as Black, John Banville noted with characteristic self-deprecating wit, was simply 'boring', while writing as Banville was 'tedious'; however seriously (or not) that should be taken, John Banville's reflections on the art of writing were neither."

The event formed part of a programme of public talks, seminars and symposia being hosted by the Library of Trinity College Dublin. Entitled The Library of the Future; the Future of the Library, the programme is designed to stimulate debate on the future of libraries.

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