Interviews Archive

Live Iain Banks Webchat, 13.00 BST today, Friday 8th July

Stuck for something to do this lunchtime, Banks fans? Here you go...

The Guardian is holding a live webchat with the man himself at 13.00 hours today.

"When we asked you whom you'd like to see more of on the site, one of the names that came up over and over was Iain Banks. And who are we to argue?"

Details of how to participate are at

[Heads-up via the always-vigilant David H of The Banksonian]

Iain Banks Interviewed for Open University

Iain Banks has been interviewed by Derek Neale, Open University lecturer in Creative Writing, for the OU's OpenLearn website.

Here's the video recording of the interview (available via YouTube) which took place at the Cheltenham Literature Festival last year. Derek talks to Iain about various topics, including the digitisation of books, his writing process and the impact of world events on his work.

An audio recording of the interview is also available via


Many thanks indeed to David H (editor of Iain Banks fanzine The Banksonian) for the heads-up!

Iain M Banks SFX Fannish Inquisition

You remember a while back we mentioned that UK Sci-Fi magazine SFX was looking for reader-submitted questions to put to Iain? Turns out the resulting interview was published in the October 20th issue of the magazine, and is available on the SFX website as well:

Iain M Banks talks to The View From Here

Mike French, editor of literary magazine The View From Here has been in touch to say:

"We interviewed Iain at the Luton Library Theatre before he went on stage, in a half-hour interview which turned out to be both amusing and insightful. The full interview is only available in our printed and digital editions."

Here's a taster question to whet your appetite:

The View From Here: Is there a grand plan for the Culture, are you taking it somewhere or just having fun with it?

Iain M Banks: "No – and yeah... it will go on until I stop having fun with it and then I will just sort of leave it to be. There's no overall strategic plan and in a sense that is the plan, having no plan is the plan. The plot of the Culture is not going to come to some huge climatic end, well unless I come up with an idea that can only work in those terms but I'll try not to.

"That is, the Culture just keeps on going: it's this society where by now you might have expected it to sublime, to retire from the normal matter base life of the galaxy and the universe and go off into this magical realm. (Which I may have to deal with as I keep getting asked about it these days, so I’m going to have to explain what the hell it is.)

"But it's definitely not doing this, deliberately staying back and surfing the crest instead of going down the wave - it wants to keep on doing good works, it wants to be part of the normal life of the galaxy. So it's deliberately not doing what it’s expected to do. So that theme of continuance, of sticking around – like passiveness, almost bloody mindedness is why it can't just all suddenly come to a big crashing stop and I think eventually it will fade away, but it’s going to leave lots of echoes.

"That was one of the questions today during the Twitter thing which I had to put in quite concise terms: somebody said, will the Culture ever fall? And I said, it’s not going to fall but it will fade and that’s going to leave echoes everywhere. ( Mock evil laughter )"

If you want to read the full interview you'll need to pay The View From Here the princely sum of $1 (one US dollar) or 69p (sixty-nine British pence) for the downloadable pdf edition, or $7.35 / £4.99 for a copy of the print remix.

More information from

Iain Banks talks to Richard Bacon on BBC Radio 5 Live

Iain was a guest on BBC Radio 5 Live's Richard Bacon show on Monday October 18th (along with Ross Kemp).

You can listen to the whole show until October 25th via the BBC iPlayer (visit the link above and look for the 'Listen Now' link) and the BBC have also extracted the following highlight from the show (Iain talking about his position on evangelical atheism) which is also available on YouTube.

[Heads-up thanks to David H of The Banksonian and huge thanks also to Guy Oldfield of BBC Radio 5 Live for sending through the vid clip]

Quick Reminder: Iain Banks Twinterview 16.30 (UK) today

Iain Banks's Twinterview with Waterstones Booksellers (@waterstones) will be taking place at 16.30 (UK time) today.

To propose a question for Iain, tweet it with the hashtag #mbanks. Waterstone's are offering the chance to win signed copies of Surface Detail if you submit one of the best questions.

Iain Banks talks to Tim Haigh

Via Tim Haigh Reads Books, Iain Banks talks Surface Detail with interviewer Tim Haigh.

Surface Detail Podcast

Visit for an earlier interview with Iain on the subject of his previous novel, Transition.

[Podcast produced and hosted by Green-Shoot.]

Iain Banks to be Twinterviewed by Waterstones

Waterstones Booksellers (@waterstones will be hosting a Twinterview (that's a Twitter-based Interview, for the uninitiated) on 19th October and are inviting questions from members of the Twitter-using public (the Twupblic?)

To propose a question for Iain, tweet it with the hashtag #mbanks and the Waterstone's crew will scoop 'em up and pick the best ones to put to the man himself on the 19th, then tweet the resulting answers.

Iain [M] Banks talks to James Rundle for SciFiNow

Iain M. Banks has been interviewed by James Rundle for SciFiNow.

Topics of discussion include Iain's writing history, his take on mainstream literature's opinion of science fiction, his influences, recommended writers and whether he thinks ebooks will eventaully take over form print media.

Read the interview at

[Another big thank you to David H of the Banksoniain for he heads-up!]

SFX Magazine Wants Your Questions for Iain Banks

SFX Magazine will be conducting a fan-interview with Iain Banks and are requesting questions to put to the author.

The deadline for submitting a question is Tuesday, June 15th. Details of how to submit can be found at

Iain Banks on BBC Radio Scotland's Stark Talk, 19.05.10

Iain Banks will be the special guest of BBC Radio Scotland's Edi Stark as she talks to Iain at his home in Fife for her regular Stark Talk series.

The show will be broadcast next Wednesday, 19th May, at 11.30 GMT BST and repeated the following Sunday at 10.30 BST. More info at the BBC Radio Scotland website. The show should also be available post-broadcast, via the BBC's iPlayer service.

Thanks to David H of The Banksoniain for the heads-up.

Quick Iain Banks interview on

Anna Metcalfe sends a series of quick-fire questions in Iain's direction for a 'Small Talk' feature over Questions like: "What is the strangest thing you’ve done when researching a book?" (Answer: "Using the equation e=mc2 to work out the explosive yield of very small quantities of antimatter, to determine how small an effective nano-missile could be.")

Iain Banks talks to… Ken Livingstone?

The New Statesman website has posted an interview with Iain carried out by none other than Ken Livingstone.

Yes, that Ken Livignstone, the former Mayor of London. Turns out he's something of an sf fan: he name-checks David Brin and mentions putting in an appearance at the Brighton SF Festival in 1987, and says he reads sf classics. You live and learn, eh?

Read the full piece at

Iain Banks interviewed for The Guardian

In a feature-length interview piece posted to The Guardian's website, Maxton Walker talks to Iain about whether or not Transition can (or should) be interpreted as a literary attack on American foreign policy and his attitude towards torture as a weapon in the fight against terrorism. They also discuss the Transition serial podcast and how current trends in the publishing industry are affecting Iain and other writers.

Good reading over at

Iain Banks interviewed for The Independent

The Independent's website is running an interview with Iain conducted by Arifa Akbar. Discussions range across Iain's plans to write a symphony, the concept of "Christian terrorism" in Transition, the effect that the passing of his father, Robert, in June has had on his personal life and writing alike, and the contrast between his generally sunny disposition and the dark mood to be found in most of his books.

Well worth a visit to to read the full article.

Iain Banks interviewed for The Scotsman

In an interview posted on The Scotsman's website, Aidan Smith asks Iain about Transition, as well as topics as diverse as his friendly rivalry with fellow Fife-resident Ian Rankin, drugs, the women in his life and his opinion of Prime Minister Gordon Brown ("I'm only a little disappointed in him. He's not a war criminal like Tony Blair, he's been unlucky, but he has ballsed up.")

Read the full interview at

Iain Banks in conversation with Clive James – today

I've just been handed the following newsflash by the ever-alert Dave H of The Banksoniain fanzine:

"Iain Banks will be the guest on Clive James in Conversation on Tuesday 18th August (i.e. TODAY!) at the Assembly Rooms George Street, Edinburgh."

See for more information.

Iain Banks talks to the Prague Post

Earlier in the month, to coincide with his appearance at the Prague Writers' Festival, Iain Banks was interviewed by the Prague Post.

When asked about forthcoming brand new novel Transition's placement in the M / non-M spectrum of his work, Iain said:

"The template I had in mind was The Bridge, my third novel, from 1986. I still think very highly of it, and I liked the way its structure let me use different voices and approaches. So, for Transition, I was trying to come up with something as different and challenging. I still think of Transition as basically mainstream, but I guess there's enough sci-fi in there to justify publishing it as such in a market where my sci-fi has generally done better."

Visit to read the rest of the interview.

Many thanks to Joe G of FPI Blog fame for the heads-up!

Iain Banks talks to The View From Here

Mike French, Editor of online literary news & reviews 'zine The View From Here has posted a new interview with Iain Banks, in two parts: part one, part two.

The discussion ranges across Iain's love of Risk!, the 'anorak' label as applied to science fiction fans, the possibility of a Wasp Factory movie, Iain's reaction to reviews, his taken on the publishing industry and more.

Iain Banks discusses the Future of Science Fiction with the BBC

Iain has contributed to a BBC website column entitled How Sci-Fi Moves With the Times, along with fellow writers Ken MacLeod, Paul Cornell and Ian Watson.

In the course of describing his general approach to the degree of scientific realism he includes in his different writing modes, Iain also lets slip a tantalising hint about his next novel:

My new book is a mainstream novel that borrows science fiction tropes. It plays with the idea that there are an infinite number of different worlds.

So it's using speculative hard science. And it's important to the book that there's a degree of respectability about the idea of the multiverse, or the many-worlds theory.

You can discuss the implications of this little snippet over on the Iain [M] Banks fan forum, should you be so inclined...