Ireland's John Banville wins Austrian literature prize

Irish author John Banville is to be awarded the Austrian state prize for European literature in July, the government said Monday, praising the novelist's "unconventional" style.

Banville "is an unconventional author who always surprises us with his themes and his complex characters," fitting into the "tradition of great European authors, tackling profound questions about life," Culture Minister Claudia Schmied said.

Banville, 67, who in 2005 won the Booker Prize for his novel "The Sea", will receive the award and the 25,000 euros ($32,630) prize money at a ceremony in Salzburg on July 25.