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Last Updated: Monday, 10 October 2005, 22:56 GMT 23:56 UK
Booker Prize: Author profiles
Two women and four men were in the running for the 2005 Man Booker Prize for Fiction, which was won by John Banville.

The Irishman emerged triumphant from 109 entrants, which were originally whittled down to a longlist of 17 contenders.

But who were the final six in the running for the literary world's most prestigious award?


John Banville
Irish novelist John Banville was born in Wexford in 1945.

Educated at a Christian Brothers' school, he went on to work for Aer Lingus - a job that enabled him to travel widely.

He published Long Lankin, a collection of short stories, in 1970, while his first novel was 1971's Nightspawn. It was followed in 1976 by Dr Copernicus, the first in a series of novels exploring the lives of eminent scientists.

The Book of Evidence was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1989. While flying to London with Aer Lingus for the awards, Banville was plied with champagne by his former employer, and told the BBC at the 2005 awards he "wouldn't have been able to stand up" if he'd won the prize.

He lost out to Kazuo Ishiguro's The Remains of the Day that year.

Banville was one of two Irish authors on the 2005 shortlist, along with Sebastian Barry for A Long Long Way.

Asked after he had won why the Irish make such good writers, he said: "The English did many terrible things to the Irish but one of the great things they did was give us this wonderful language. We are a completely story-based society. We do love a story."


Julian Barnes
Born in Leicester in 1946, Julian Barnes was educated at the City of London School and Magdalen College, Oxford.

He began his career as a journalist, writing for the Times Literary Supplement, the New Statesman and the New Yorker, among others.

His first novel, Metroland, was published in 1980. His 1984 work, Flaubert's Parrot, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize, as was his 1998 novel England, England.

Barnes lives in London with his wife, the literary agent Pat Kavanagh.


Sebastian Barry
Born in 1955 in Dublin, Sebastian Barry is best known as the author of such stage works as The Steward of Christendom and Our Lady of Sligo.

Educated at Trinity College in Dublin, he subsequently returned there as a Writer Fellow in 1995.

He published his first novel, The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty, in 1998. His second, Annie Dunne, came out in 2002.

Barry, who is also a poet and a children's author, lives in County Wicklow, Ireland.


Kazuo Ishiguro
Born in Nagasaki, Japan, in 1954, Kazuo Ishiguro came to Britain in 1960 and was educated at a boys' grammar school in Surrey.

Before enrolling at the University of Kent he worked as a grouse-beater for the Queen Mother at Balmoral.

A full-time writer since 1982 his novels include The Remains of the Day, which won the Booker Prize in 1989 and was subsequently filmed in 1993.

His fifth novel, When We Were Orphans, was also shortlisted for the Booker.


Ali Smith
Born in Inverness in 1962, Ali Smith studied for her first degree in Aberdeen but moved to Cambridge to do a PhD.

Rather than study, she started to write plays and ended up dropping out to work as a lecturer in Edinburgh.

She made her mark on the literary scene in 1995 with her first book, Free Love, a collection of short stories.

Smith published her first novel, Like, in 1997. Her second, Hotel World, was shortlisted for both the Booker and Orange prizes.


Zadie Smith
Born Sadie Smith in 1975 in north London, Smith changed her first name to Zadie at the age of 14.

She began writing her debut novel, White Teeth, while a student at Cambridge. The book was published in 2000 and became an instant bestseller.

Her second novel, The Autograph Man, was published in 2002. Like its predecessor it was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize.

She lives with her husband, poet and novelist Nick Laird, in north London.

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