Welcome to the new-look Iain [M] Banks website. This website contains a wealth of information on the fiction of Iain Banks and the science fiction of Iain M Banks. New content is being added to the site on a regular basis. If there's anything you'd particularly like to see on the site, please contact the site editors and let us know.
February 16th, 2015 in Book News
Iain Banks the literary novelist and Iain M. Banks the science-fiction writer are too well known to need introduction, but Iain Banks the poet has hitherto been almost undetected. A single poem, ‘041’, published in a poetry magazine; two poems (‘“Slight Mechanical Destruction”’ and ‘Zakalwe’s Song’) book-ending Use of Weapons; some lines from ‘Feu de Joie’ (which he excluded from this collection) embedded in The Crow Road (and with much more of its content saturating A Song of Stone) have been his only publications. But he took his poetry seriously and worked on it carefully, though he shared the results (about which he had no false modesty) mainly with friends.
As can be seen from the dates, Iain started writing poetry almost as soon as he arrived in high school, and continued until 1981. Why he stopped I can only speculate. The manuscript – handwritten, contents-listed, page-numbered – of the collection, characteristically titled poems where the heart is, from which he selected (and sometimes slightly but significantly revised) the poems here, has something of a sense of completion.
Readers of Banks’s prose will find in these poems many aspects of his writing with which they’re already familiar: a humane and materialist sensibility, an unflinching stare at the damage people can do to each other, a warm appreciation of the joy they can give to each other, a revel in language, a geologically informed gaze on land and sea,a continued meditation on what it means for us to be mortal embodied minds with a fleeting but consequent existence between abysses of deep time.
I too started writing poems in high school, and I’ve continued to write them, on and off, since. Only ‘Faith as a Grain of Poppy Seed’ has been published in a poetry magazine; others have appeared in publications of various science-fiction communities and conventions, and one, ‘Erosion’, was included in the text of my novel Intrusion.
Some time in 2012, well before he had any inkling of his illness, Iain said to me that he wanted to see his poems and mine published, preferably together. I demurred; he insisted, and I agreed. He had the risible notion that my poems would provide his with some kind of covering fire. I think the truth is quite the reverse, but in defence of my works’ inclusion I can say that – because over the years we read and discussed each other’s poems – there is an element of dialogue and evidence of mutual influence.
He continued to work on this project during his illness. A few final revisions to a handful of poems were only found after Iain’s death, and I’ve incorporated them here. For finding the final corrections and the original manuscripts, and for much else, I thank Adele.
May 9th, 2014 in Event News
Starting at 3:33 pm on June 28th there will be a walk following Graham Park's route from the Iain Banks book Walking on Glass.
The date and time come from the book and the anniversary is on a Saturday this year. Gather from 3:15pm at the corner of Theobald's Road (south side) and Southampton Row (east side) near the old Central St Martin's site just up from Holborn tube station.
After following Graham's route from the book the plan is to head up Upper Street to visit more locations from the book and the author's life finishing after about three hours at the Hope & Anchor near where Banks wrote the first draft of The Wasp Factory.
Further information: https://www.facebook.com/events/462900703839787/
March 28th, 2014 in Book News
Iain Banks's last novel, The Quarry, is out now in paperback.
The Quarry is the story of a dying man and his only son, six old friends, a missing videotape and a reunion in a crumbling house on the edge of a quarry.
First published in hardback and ebook last year, here's what critics had to say:
'A quietly incendiary piece of writing, at times heartbreaking, at other times really wonderfully funny ... a profoundly humane, funny and smart novel.'
'Wonderfully exuberant ... written with the life-enhancing verve characteristic of Banks's best work.' Scotsman
'His final novel is shot through with Banks's trademark humour, political engagement and hope' Louise Welsh, Times
'Banks's relaxed fluency - the direct, funny, unpretentious intelligence of his writing, which, along with his teeming imagination, made him perhaps Britain's best-loved major contemporary novelist.
March 6th, 2014 in Book News
The Wasp Factory has been voted one of the top 50 books that help shape and inspire teenage lives the most, in a public vote held to mark World Book Day today. Thousands of adults and teenagers in the UK voted in the 'Writes of Passage' initiative, intended to create the ultimate list of 50 recommended reads for teens.
Adele Banks said "I know that Iain would have been flattered and delighted to see The Wasp Factory still enticing and thrilling readers a mere 30 years after its first publication."
The full list of 50 is split into the following categories:
Books that will change the way you think
Books that will help you understand you
Books that will make you cry
Books that will make you laugh
Books that will scare you
Books that will teach you about love
Books that will thrill you
Books that will transport you
World Book Day is celebrated in more than 100 countries worldwide with a main aim in UK and Ireland to encourage children to explore the pleasures of books and reading.
You can find out more about 'Writes of Passage' here
February 16th, 2014 in Book News
Our much loved and admired author, Iain Banks would have celebrated his 60th birthday today, Sunday 16th February. To mark the date, Little, Brown is delighted to announce that in February 2015, we will publish a collection of Iain and Ken Macleod’s poems, edited by Ken.
Simon Pegg, a long-standing fan of Iain’s work, said this month:
‘Whenever I am asked about a favourite book, I immediately think of The Wasp Factory. Iain Banks’ beguiling novel is a funny, terrifying, beautiful piece of writing; a story told through the complex, compartmentalised thoughts of a calmly amoral, occasionally homicidal child, no more guilty of insanity than the questionable authority figures that surround this fractured youth. The Wasp Factory has stayed with me since the first of several reads and haunts me still, buried in my brain like maggots, the images appearing in my mind's eye like so many burning sheep on the horizon.
If I had only read this one book of Iain's and not devoured and enjoyed much of his other work, he would still be one of my all-time favourite authors.’
– Simon Pegg, actor, comedian, screenwriter and film producer - February 2014
Many fans continue to leave messages and tributes to Iain on the Banksophilia website set up by Iain’s friends. http://friends.banksophilia.com/guestbook/
November 29th, 2013 in Awards & Accolades
Iain Banks' books account for two of the top ten books Scottish novels of the last 50 years as voted by the public.
As part of Book Week Scotland 2013, The Scottish Books Trust conducted a poll to find the 10 Favourite Scottish Novels of the Last 50 Years. Members of the public were invited to visit the Book Week Scotland website to choose from a shortlist of 50 titles compiled by author and literary critic Stuart Kelly in collaboration with Scottish Book Trust. The shortlisted novels were carefully selected in an attempt to reflect the depth and breadth of the journey Scottish writing has taken over the last half century.
You can see the full shortlist on the Scottish Book Trust website.
July 4th, 2013 in Book News
In recent months, the astronomer José Luis Galache at the Minor Planet Center put forth a request that an asteroid be named after Iain M. Banks. Sadly, it was too late for Iain to hear of it, but on the 23rd of June this was approved by the International Astronomical Union.
Asteroid Iainbanks now resides in the Main Asteroid Belt of the Sol system; with a size of 6.1 km (3.8 miles), it takes 3.94 years to complete a revolution around the Sun. It is most likely of a stony composition.
June 17th, 2013 in Event News
Some of Iain Banks' most avid readers have organised a commemorative walk in London on the 29th of June.
Iain Banks's second published novel, Walking on Glass, has three interlinked storylines. One of these has chapter names which are the roads in London that the character Graham Park walks in his journey from Theobald's Road to Half Moon Crescent. This is an area that Iain was familiar with especially the final chapter that takes Graham to Upper Street / Regent's Canal, and after the storyline walk we can pop into the Camden Head, which is mentioned in the book. From there we can venture further north to find other related locations, and the plan is to finish in the Hope & Anchor which was somewhere Iain drank when he lived in Islington Park Street.
Meet at the corner of Southampton Row / Theobald's Road (nearest tube: Holborn) at 13:00 on Saturday 29th June, this is a day after the 30th anniversary of when the walk takes place in the book. Bring a copy to follow Graham's walk and see where the different story lines interlink with each other and the author's life.
For more information please see the Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/509809792407615/
April 5th, 2013 in Resources
If you would like to leave a personal message for Iain, please feel free to sign his guestbook for friends and family: http://friends.banksophilia.com/guestbook/
April 3rd, 2013 in From the Author
I am officially Very Poorly.
After a couple of surgical procedures, I am gradually recovering from jaundice caused by a blocked bile duct, but that - it turns out - is the least of my problems.
I first thought something might be wrong when I developed a sore back in late January, but put this down to the fact I'd started writing at the beginning of the month and so was crouched over a keyboard all day. When it hadn't gone away by mid-February, I went to my GP, who spotted that I had jaundice. Blood tests, an ultrasound scan and then a CT scan revealed the full extent of the grisly truth by the start of March.
I have cancer. It started in my gall bladder, has infected both lobes of my liver and probably also my pancreas and some lymph nodes, plus one tumour is massed around a group of major blood vessels in the same volume, effectively ruling out any chance of surgery to remove the tumours either in the short or long term.
The bottom line, now, I'm afraid, is that as a late stage gall bladder cancer patient, I'm expected to live for 'several months' and it’s extremely unlikely I'll live beyond a year. So it looks like my latest novel, The Quarry, will be my last.
As a result, I've withdrawn from all planned public engagements and I've asked my partner Adele if she will do me the honour of becoming my widow (sorry - but we find ghoulish humour helps). By the time this goes out we'll be married and on a short honeymoon. We intend to spend however much quality time I have left seeing friends and relations and visiting places that have meant a lot to us. Meanwhile my heroic publishers are doing all they can to bring the publication date of my new novel forward by as much as four months, to give me a better chance of being around when it hits the shelves.
There is a possibility that it might be worth undergoing a course of chemotherapy to extend the amount of time available. However that is still something we're balancing the pros and cons of, and anyway it is out of the question until my jaundice has further and significantly, reduced.
Lastly, I'd like to add that from my GP onwards, the professionalism of the medics involved - and the speed with which the resources of the NHS in Scotland have been deployed - has been exemplary, and the standard of care deeply impressive. We're all just sorry the outcome hasn't been more cheerful.
A website is being set up where friends, family and fans can leave messages for me and check on my progress. It should be up and running during this week and a link to it will be here on my official website as soon as it’s ready.
- ENDS -
To leave a personal message for Iain Banks, please visit: http://friends.banksophilia.com/guestbook/
Iain’s novel The Quarry has been delivered and will be published this year.
February 22nd, 2013 in Resources
David H, the editor of the Banksonian Fanzine, has been in touch to let us know the newest issue is available to download from efanzine.org.
This edition looks back at 2012 but also forward into 2013 and beyond. He talks about the covers makeover on backlist reissues of Iain Banks' (non M) titles and has a full publicity round up.
On Monday the 8th of October, Iain M Banks appeared on BBC's Book Cafe, discussing his newest book The Hydrogen Sonata.
You can listen to a clip from the show with Iain's interview on the BBC Radio website here.
April 4th, 2012 in Book News
Stonemouth is published tomorrow, and to whet your appetite, here's a round-up of what the critics have been saying so far:
‘There is more than a shade of Pip and Estella in Stewart and Ellie, and to create an emotionally satisfying while intellectually convincing ending is a rare achievement’ Guardian
‘The storytelling is very, very smooth.. One of his best’ Evening Standard
‘Addictive, funny, and brilliantly observed’ Daily Mail
‘This is Banks at his waspish, intelligent, nuanced best. His fans will give thanks’ Scotland on Sunday
‘…it’s tender, and funny, and heart-stopping-ly exciting. I finished it on a high that gave way rapidly to bereavement – as if I were eight again and had just finished Five Go to Smuggler’s Top’ The Times
‘Jocular, gritty and smart-alecky, Stonemouth is very Iain Banks’ Sunday Independent, Ireland
Iain will be out and about signing books in the next few weeks, so check the appearances section for details.
February 2nd, 2012 in Book News
Thanks to everyone who entered our competition to win a signed proof of Iain Banks new novel Stonemouth. We had some great answers to why you'd like to review it (as well as some helpful spelling advice on the word 'receive':-)). And now, without further ado, the winners are . . .
Congratulations! Your proofs are on their way to you as we speak - looking forward to hearing what you think!
Spring is nearly here, and with it comes the much-anticipated Stonemouth - Iain Banks' new novel set in an estuary town in far-north Scotland. To support the release of the novel, Iain will be appearing at a number of events around the UK, including:
For details, please see the appearances section of the website.
[Thank you to David H from The Banksonian for the heads up on these three.]
Stonemouth. Home to sea fog. Gangsters. Lost love. And a suspension bridge . . .
Iain Banks returns in April with his new novel - a dark, fast-paced and brilliant thriller that deals with adolescence, love and vengeance, and the perils of coming home.
We're very excited about it, and with less than three months to wait until Stonemouth is released on the 5th of April, the countdown to publication has well and truly begun. We have a limited amount of signed and numbered reading copies of Stonemouth to giveaway to 5 readers - all we ask in return is for the lucky recipients to let us know what they think of it once they've read it!
To win one of the copies, just fill in the form below and tell us why you'd like to recieve a proof copy. We'll choose the 5 best ones and put the winners names on the website. Once the winners have written their review, they can just send it to us and we'll post them here. The review can be as long or short as you like, though the more in depth the better. No spoilers though! For terms and conditions see here.
The competition has now closed. The winners will be contacted via email shortly. Good luck to all who entered!
[CountDown id=1 width=250 custom_widget=1 containerx=0 containerxy=0 imagebackground=false reflection=false year=2012 month=2 day=1 hours=00 minute=00 textunder=true]
After so many of you voted to see an Iain M Banks title on the World Book Night 2012 list, we were thrilled when it actually happened and The Player of Games made the final list of twenty-five titles.
World Book Night 2012 will be held on April 23, and they’re looking for 20,000 ‘givers’ to volunteer. These givers will have the opportunity to give away twenty-four copies each as a way to share their enthusiasm for The Player of Games.
Share your love for Iain’s books and The Player of Games by signing up as a giver. Simply register through the World Book Night website before February 1st, and select The Player of Games from the Book Choice drop down.
January 6th, 2012 in Book News
Iain M. Banks is interviewed by David Conyers for the feature piece in the latest issue of Albedo One, Ireland's longest-running magazine of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror.
For more information, or to order a copy of the magazine, head to the Albedo One website.
This Sunday, 27th of November, tune in at 12pm to hear Iain Banks on BBC Radio 6 Music as he takes listeners through an hour of music as part of the BBC 6 Paperback Writers programme.
More information can be found on the BBC Radio 6 website: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b017pncn
Listen to Iain discussing 'Meet On The Ledge' by Fairport Convention from the show.
November 18th, 2011 in Book News
The Wasp Factory was featured on Jim Naughtie's Radio 4 Book Club last week, and Jim has written about his conversation with Iain on his Book Club blog.
"The book is a picture of disturbance, a kind of punk's-eye view of the world, which is a place of gothic horror and badness. Yet, as Iain told us, "Frank thinks he is relatively normal - it's as simple as that."
For the full report, see here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/radio4/2011/11/bookclub_the_wasp_factory.html