I Got My Education between the Covers of Books; Novelist Iain Banks Tells of the Inspiration Behind His Writing BEST-SELLING SCOTS AUTHOR ON GROWING UP IN HIS LOCAL LIBRARY

Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland), June 25, 2012 | Go to article overview

I Got My Education between the Covers of Books; Novelist Iain Banks Tells of the Inspiration Behind His Writing BEST-SELLING SCOTS AUTHOR ON GROWING UP IN HIS LOCAL LIBRARY


Byline: Shari Low

LAST week, Iain Banks launched the Reading Relay, an innovative new scheme running in libraries across Scotland. Here, the best-selling author talks to us about the inspirations and views that shape his life and work.

In the 28 years since the publication of his iconic debut The Wasp Factory, Iain Banks has written close to 30 books, including some of the most acclaimed Scottish novels.

It wouldn't be a major surprise, then, if the 58-year-old author had taken the plaudits, cashed the cheques and headed for Hollywood, but Banks has no plans to call in the removals van.

A Fife resident, he admits that his surroundings inspire him and, in launching the Reading Relay, a library promotion running nationwide, he can give a bit back to the environment he cherished as a child. He explained: "I was an active kid, spending a lot of time getting scratches on my wee bare knees, but even so I spent hours in the local library - it was a home from home. "I did a lot of my growing up in libraries, and completed my education there.

They're vital for our communities." Daily Read campaign Thistles Stirling on where kids Porridge Pot The Centre in Cameron Toll Edinburgh on Centre, Glasgow the Kingsgate Centre in on Over the years, he has repaid those libraries with a diverse body of work. Banks famously writes under two different personas. As Iain Banks, he has penned classics including The Crow Road, Espedair Street and Complicity. In the science fiction genre, hits such as Surface Detail and Matter were released using the moniker Iain M Banks. The two diverse aspects of his creativity are balanced by focusing on one book at a time and working to a time plan. "I spend most of the year not writing, but increasingly I'll think about the next book, then I write like mad for three months. "Providing I've done the thinking and planning properly, that gives ample time to write even a fairly long novel. "Thing is, to me they're all just books, even though some have spaceships, aliens and super weapons in them, they're not that much different from mainstream novels. They have a plot, they have characters, ideas, dialogue, a theme, and what unites them feels more important than what divides." This double-strand career comes with the bonus of diversity for both author and reader. "By constantly switching The Record Big comes to Shopping Centre, Saturday, June 30, see The Magic live. Next, it visits Livingston on July 7, Shopping Centre, July 14, St Enoch on July 21, and Shopping Dunfermline July 28.

between mainstream and science fiction, each book is guaranteed to be different from the last one I wrote." Banks's latest release, Stonemouth, has all the trademarks of his mainstream classics. Set in a fictional town in the North East of Scotland, it combines complex relationships with the gritty authenticity of small-town Scotland. In the book, Stonemouth is run by two crime families, the MacAvetts and the Murstons. The action kicks off when main character Stewart Gilmour returns to the town, five years after he crossed the Murstons and was forced to flee. Now that his exile is over, he realises certain members of the community are not getting out the bunting to welcome him back. The development of the plot was one that Banks deliberated over. He said: "It was the returning home thing that came first, then I had to work out why the character had been away, and why he hadn't been able to return earlier.

"I nearly had him coming out of prison after five years but that just didn't feel right. In the end, I went with something that felt more primitive - getting on the wrong side of the local crime lord." This instinct for challenging authority and making a stand is one that is not confined to Banks' works of fiction. …

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