Hi Mr. Banville, you were awarded with the prestigious Prince of Asturias Prize for Literature and you have become the first Irish autor to receive it, how do you feel about it?
-Well, it is an honour for me to be here and all what I have to say it that our world is written with words and sentences. I’ve been writing books all my life and I will continue doing so.
What is the only thing a writer like you must understand about writing?
-It is very hard and takes a lot of time to read, to learn, to summarize and so on. If you think it is not hard, you’re not doing it right.
What distinguishes a well-told story from a badly told one?
-Good reporting needs a lot of time of thinking and the best thing you can do is read as much as you can.
Thanks a lot Mr. Banville and congratulations! -You’re welcome. It was a great honour for me and remember, my best book is still about to come out.
INTERVIEW by Mª TERESA PÉREZ LÓPEZ
JOHN BANVILLE: ‘THE BEST BOOK IS THE ONE THAT HASN’T BEEN PUBLISHED YET’
This year the Prize for Literature to John Banville is double or rather it is for two. ‘For his clever, deep and original fictional creation as John Banville and for his disturbing and critical detective novels as Benjamin Black’ – the pseudonym by which he has also succeeded in this genre – the Irish writer has been awarded the ‘Prince of Asturias Prize for Literature 2014’ today in Oviedo.
Interviewer: Good evening Mr Banville and congratulations for this award. I give the impression of talking to two people, to two writers, I mean, the same person but two writers... then we will talk about the coexistence between them. I would like to get that sentence you said in your speech to underline its importance: ‘I have spent all my life struggling with sentences. The most transcendental invention of mankind can’t imagine a more privileged existence’. Don’t you suffer writing?
John Banville: Oh, yes, a little, but suffering isn´t so bad. Like you, I lived in a Catholic country, I was born there, there is much sin, much to forgive and much to regret but it is wonderful anyway.
Interviewer: Then, it is worth the suffering. In your books as Benjamin Black your sentences are very different from those written as John Banville. In fact, you have said that in one case you write by hand as John Banville and you use the computer as Benjamin Black. Why do you do that? Why is that change?
John Banville: Benjamin is the type of person who has to do everything very quickly, he is always in a hurry, he can’t stop, he can’t look back, he can’t look down, he just has to move on, and therefore I need the computer speed. However, Banville writes with pen since that is the speed I need because that gives me the persistence of paper.
Interviewer: You mentioned the parallelism between Spain and Ireland and that brings me to talk about your country. There are great names of Irish writers such as Oscar Wilde, Samuel Beckett... well, the list is important. What has Ireland got that gives great writers like you? How does a smalll country like yours influence that?
John Banville: I think it would be a mixture of the Irish language that we already lost more than a hundred years ago and the English language we won. That tension between those two languages exists and it leads to a new kind of a richer English language. I think that is the reason for having such a rich language, so varied, makes us be that way, and consequently we feel there is something to write about.
Interviewer: Well, we have very little time but I would like to ask you to recommend us a book. I don’t know if you will choose one of your books. So, for those who don’t know John Banville and Benjamin Black, which one would you recommend? Or would you recommend both of them?
John Banville: I think the best book is the one that hasn’t been published yet. Well, we could start with Benjamin Black reading ‘Christine Falls’ and ‘The Book of Evidence’ by Banville. This one was published twenty five years ago but I think it is a good introduction to my work.
Interviewer: Thank you so much, congratulations again and we look forward to your next book. Thank you, Mr Banville. Good evening.
John Banville: Thank you very much.
(Translation TVE interview to John Banville)INTERVIEW TO JOHN BANVILLE BY VERÓNICA GARCÍA LÓPEZ This year the Prince of Asturias Award for literature has been won by John Banvillean ,Irish novelist. You might not have ever heard anything about him if you don´t read screen novels. Nevertheless, If you like reading crime novels probably some novels which have been written by Benjamin Black, both of them are the same person, because John Banville writes dramas and screem novels with his real name , but he is Benjamin Black when he writes crime novels. As a result it is said that he is a rare person, also it is said that he has incredible dark humour and he is considered one of the most imaginative novelist. Today he is in Oviedo so as to receive his award and we can speak to him. I recommed you reading this interview if you want to know about the author of such novels as The Book of Evidence or The Infinites. Interviewer: congratulations Mister Banville because of the award. How do you feel? John Banville: I am greatful. For me it is a pleasure that this award has been given to me. I: What is the most important thing for you in your life¿ JB: There are two things which are really important and necessary. First of all I need to have freedom. I didn´t go to universty because I had better things to do that I love. Secondly ,the sentence; I couldn´t live without it, and in my opinion nobody could live if we didn´t have it because we need to communicate. I: Why did you decide to be a writer? JB: I never doubted . I have been a wrIter since I was born. I remember writing when I was a child. I believe that I am an imagitnative person and I need to write what I have in my head. I: Why do you write as Benjamin Black? JB: When I am writing crime novels it is easier for me to have a different name. Sometimes If I were John I wouldn´t be able to write. However if I am Black, writing is very comfortable.