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Digital Subscriptions > Writing Magazine > January 2016 > Beat the bestsellers

Beat the bestsellers

The Techniques and Tricks of BENJAMIN BLACK & JOHN BANVILLE

The Booker prizewinner’s pathologist is a stunning creation, says Tony Rossiter

They’re the same person, but very different writers. John Banville writes‘literary’ novels and has won the Booker prize; Benjamin Black writes crime novels, most of them featuring the Dublin pathologist Quirke. What surprised me was to come across an interview in which he said: ‘I certainly like the Benjamin Black books more than my Banville novels.’

Beginnings and early influences

Educated at a Christian Brothers’ school and at St Peter’s College, Wexford, his main interest as a teenager was painting. He did not make it as a painter, but the experience fed into his writing, teaching him ‘to look at the world in a very particular way – looking very closely at things, at colours, at how things form themselves in space.’

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