Wexford author John Banville will be named a chevalier or knight in the Ordre des Arts et Lettres at the French embassy in Dublin this evening.

Earlier this month, Banville won the Prince of Asturias literary award.

The writer has appeared three times in the Franco-Irish Literary Festival, which is organised by the French embassy and the Alliance Française.

Most of his novels are translated into French and he has given numerous readings at the Irish Cultural Centre in Paris.

The Ordre des Arts et Lettres (Order of Arts and Letters) is awarded by the French ministry of Culture to distinguished creative artists.

It recognises such artists' efforts in promoting the cultural heritage of France.

The influence of French writer Marcel Proust is particularly  in evidence in two Banville novels, The Sea and Ancient Light.

The award has been granted on previous occasions to U2’s Bono, Abbey director Fiach Mac Conghail, artist Anne Madden, and Gate director Michael Colgan, amongst others.

Astute commentators have not ruled out the possibility of the Nobel Prize for Literature eventually going the way of the Irish writer.