Banville and McBride top of the world after double literary win
Irish writers John Banville and Eimear McBride have achieved a remarkable double literary success by claiming two prestigious international prizes.
Wexford's Banville has won Spain's Prince of Asturias Award for Literature for 2014, the country's equivalent of a Nobel Prize.
And newcomer McBride, who grew up in Sligo and Mayo, has won the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction in Britain for her debut novel 'A Girl Is A Half-Formed Thing'.
Banville (68) will receive a €50,000 cash prize after beating off competition from 23 other authors from countries including Argentina, Cuba, Chile, China, Egypt, Italy and Japan.
Speaking afterwards the author said: "It is a great pleasure and an honour to be awarded the Prince of Asturias Award for Literature 2014.
"I know how wonderful this award is, both culturally and historically, and honestly, I am very proud that my name is to be added to the long list of great writers who have received it."
The latest accolade comes after he received his highest award – the 2005 Man Booker Prize – for 'The Sea'.
Meanwhile, 37-year-old McBride picked up her award last night in London.
The writer, who moved to London at the age of 17, drew upon her own childhood as inspiration for the book, including her brother's battle with cancer.
Helen Fraser, chairman of the judging panel, said of the book: "It was very unlike anything else we read. It has an incredible, raw energy that really excites you as a reader."
McBride, a mother of one, will receive a prize of almost €37,000.